UMD grand entrance could help Woodland development

Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
Published: February 21, 2012 11:04:20 PM CST

The configuration of the retail and housing complex planned for the Woodland Middle School site has changed.

Developer Mark Lambert, who initially planned housing stacked on top of retail space, said Tuesday the two will probably be separated, with retail along Woodland Avenue and a four- or five-story residence behind it to start. He expects to finalize plans on the development — called Bluestone — in the next couple of weeks.

With the separation of retail and housing, “it might be a little easier to phase our development and build it in a way that ensures its success,” Lambert said.

Prospective retail tenants have concerns about the lack of an intersection or nearby entrance into the University of Minnesota Duluth. His proposed plans show a main entrance into UMD off of Woodland Avenue, right across from future retail and housing with its own corridor with lighting and landscaping.

“If that (UMD) connection never comes, we probably want to be a little careful how strongly retail-oriented we are because retailers might not be as interested (in) being there,” Lambert said. However, “we’re still hopeful UMD will be giving us a new access road connecting to their campus.”

Lambert reached a purchase agreement with the Duluth school district in September to buy the 22-acre property in two phases, paying $1.5 million for each phase. He expects the first purchase to be in April. The entire development, which at first will include building one retail site and one for housing, could take four to six years to complete. Other housing and retail space would be added depending on demand.

via Duluth News Tribune | Duluth Minnesota.

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