Two Sides of the Zenith City the Average Duluthian Doesn't See

By KBJR News 1

July 9, 2013 Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 6:08 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A fourth floor deluxe apartment in the heart of downtown—complete with a fireplace, rooftop patio, heated indoor parking and 24–7 security.

Probably not what comes to mind when you think about "workforce housing," or any housing typically found in Duluth.

"Right outside your doorstep there's entertainment, places to exercise, go dining," said Tracey Tellor, owner of Tellor Realty.

So who lives in these?

According to Tellor, it's apartments, like those owned by A&L properties in the Wieland Block of Superior Street, that anyone—from young and old professionals, to entrepreneurs—can, and are, looking for.

"It's hard to find rentals that look like this or anywhere even close to this. And that's what people are looking for—move in ready, tastefully decorated—and there's a lack of that here," said Tellor, showing off the larger-than-life shower.

Ranging from city–side views with an average base price of $275,000, to a lake view starting at $330,000, these apartments, according to Tellor, connect their inhabitants to the heart of Duluth's culture and entertainment.

While A&L Properties's Bridgeman Russell building one block up offers similar rooms for an average of $1,100 per month for rent, these apartments are for sale only—or in most cases, sold.

"There's 14 units here, and I only have one two bedroom/two bathroom left," said Tellor, "and a couple of one bedroom/one baths."

Tellor says the need for more downtown market–priced housing options is only growing, meaning more of these apartments could become a reality in the near future for interested businessmen and women, architects, and aspiring artists.

But for some artists, the heart of downtown is just too exposed a canvas for their type of work. Across the street from the Depot, just underneath the I–35 overpass, lies an impressive sight rarely seen by Duluthians—that is, unless they're looking.

"I just started coming down here with buddies, and it kind of turned into a love of mine. Now, I'm down here probably at least once a week," said Duluth native and photographer Dan Branovan as he walked along the walls of spray paint.

Branovan has been coming to the Graffiti Graveyard since his freshman year of high school, documenting with his camera the constant—and technically illegal—changes the corridors of concrete canvas see weekly.

One particularly massive mural, according to Branovan, is at best a couple days old, and an impressive work of art. In a few days time, however, it will be what Branovan called "dicked," which basically means smaller, cruder, simpler graffiti will soon cover it—essentially vandalism vandalizing vandalism.

It's been the motif of The Graveyard for decades, says Branovan, and with big names in the aerosol art world frequenting the location, even the smallest signature tells a story, "...like Abuse, right here. He's actually a pretty big writer from the cities. He kills it. Each2 is right around the corner—he's also super good," he said, pointing to a paint-coated concrete pillar. "Right here: Omer. This dude's a local writer, he actually lives in Duluth. That dude kills it. Static, and the United Crushers—that's a cities crew. Those dudes are probably my favorite," added Branovan.

And since police don't frequent the Graffiti Graveyard, Branovan says it's a guarantee that only more will paint will cake these walls in a dazzling display of urban art that most of Duluth just won't see.

If you'd like to learn more about any Duluth location you just saw:

WIELAND BLOCK VIRTUAL TOUR

GRAFFITI GRAVEYARD FACEBOOK PAGE

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness

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