Business Leaders Tout 'Duluth's Economy on the Move'

By KBJR News 1

May 8, 2013 Updated May 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth's economy is on the move.

That was the slogan adopted at Tuesday’s Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce FORVM.

Brian Hanson of Apex and Chris Eng of the Duluth Economic Development Authority are confident Duluth is growing and thriving.

"Duluth's economy is on the move and there are a lot of opportunities here," Eng said.

The aviation industry is becoming Duluth's economic core.

Cirrus is looking to add staff and AAR is expected to add another hundred workers.

"We are on the radar screen of a lot of the big name site selectors that are looking at Duluth as a great opportunity right now," Hanson said.

These developers are not letting a housing shortage get in the way of progress.
A housing market study is underway to help attract builders.

"Projects like Blue Stone Commons, they are going to open up a lot of student housing,” Hanson said. “That's going to allow us to put those homes back into use for single families and young workers."

Plans to develop the $30 million Pier B waterfront project are moving ahead.

"Our goal would be to help them with their financing and get construction underway this summer or this fall," Eng said.

Other plans are in the works to redevelop old sites like the shuttered Georgia Pacific Plant. Leaders are optimistic that the site, close to the port and on a rail line, will be attractive to developers.

"A likely scenario is that someone will come in and work with those buildings, to reclaim them and get the scrap value out of those buildings,” Hanson said.

The Duluth Port Authority is also working with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to identify areas of environmental concern at the former U.S. Steel site near Morgan Park.

The hope is to develop 130 acres for industrial purposes.

Jennifer Walch
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