NorShor Theatre fire to have no impact on multi-million dollar restoration efforts

By KBJR News 1

February 14, 2014 Updated Feb 14, 2014 at 7:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- The historic NorShor theatre, which is in the middle of multi-million dollar renovations was damaged in a fire early Friday morning.

When fire crews arrived on scene around 4:30 Friday morning at the NorShor theatre, there was smoke coming up from a third story window.

The fire was contained to that single room in the upper level above the main theater.

Fire officials have determined the cause of the fire to be a failed blower motor for the buildings heating system.
Damage estimates are at $15,000.

The city purchased the theatre in 20-10 for $2.6 million dollars.

They are working with developers, Sherman and Associates, along with supporters to renovate the NorShor theatre and bring back the arts, dance and theatre to downtown Duluth.

Renovating the landmark comes with a hefty price tag of $22.3 million dollars.

The historic theatre could get a major boost in funding if the Minnesota legislature approves Governor Dayton's nearly $7 million dollar bonding proposal this year to help the restore the landmark.

Daniel Fanning, director of communications for the city of Duluth says the fire will have no direct impact on the renovations and restoration of the NorShor theatre, as the heating system was already slated for replacement.

"Frankly we already knew that this entire system along with the entire building needed to be renovated anyway. Essentially this underscores what we have been saying for quite awhile and really kind of highlights what we have been trying to do as a city partnering with Sherman and associates and the Duluth playhouse which is bring this building back up to a much more reasonable code and standard. "

Fanning credits a new fire alarm system that was installed a few years ago inside the NorShor theatre at the insistence of the Duluth Fire Department for possibly saving the building .

Money for the renovations will be used to replace the heating system and bring the building up to code.

The developers have slowly started renovations but are waiting on the final piece of the piece...the bonding money.

If all goes as planned, those behind the renovation hope to have the theatre restored by late 2015.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati