Enbridge Energy Sets Sights on Downtown Duluth

By KBJR News 1

May 21, 2012 Updated May 21, 2012 at 7:44 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - According to Richard Adams, Vice President of U.S. Operations for Enbridge Energy, says now is the time for expansion.

"We're seeing unprecedented growth at this time, and, really, that growth is driven by whats happened in the oil sands in Canada, and also what's happening in North Dakota, and we are benefitting from both of those--that's where our expansion is coming from. And certainly the Northland region, all thhrough the Midwest, and these states, we've seen growth in all those areas. We've seen hiring in all those areas," said Adams.

Now, after much deliberation, Enbridge plans on making downtown Duluth--specifically, the Wieland Block of Superior Street--the latest location for its expansion, bringing with it over 100 professional jobs.

According to Adams, the move to the downtown area just made sense:
"Already, we have a number of employees that live in the Duluth area, and it certainly made sense for us at this point. We've expanded already in Duluth. We're in, I believe, 6 different office facilities now--this will make number 6 for us. We do a lot of work with some of the consulting firms that are located in downtown Duluth, and it's absolutely imperative that we have good access to those folks."

And, David Ross, President and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, agrees, saying the move is great news for the revitalization of the downtown area.

"This is another great additon to the downtown. It will keep our downtown,our major buildings, full--the technology village in the Wieland Block. And, we're so fortunate to have these professionals soon in our downtown--100 to 150. Hopefully many of them will choose to reside in Duluth," said Ross.

Even if they don't, however, Ross says the economic impact will still be palpable.

"If they don't live in Duluth, they'll certainly work in, and enjoy recreating in [Duluth]. I suspect that many of these will be young professionals, as well. That will lend itself to even more energy, more people, down here, in historic downtown," said Ross.

While much of the planning and construction is still being discussed, according to VP Adams, much more of the expansion project will be solidified come the year's end.