“Only in Duluth,” said Warren Hanson, president of the St. Paul-based Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, which secured more than two-thirds of the $18.5 million needed for the reconstruction project.
“Without your patience it would have been a lot harder,” said Jeff Corey, addressing a multitude of residents in the audience. The executive director of One Roof Community Housing, Corey’s moon-landing of a project found his proud parents in attendance Wednesday.
“We’re ecstatic with the changes we made to the building both inside and out,” Corey added.
The renovation included several major upgrades, including a new heating system, sprinkler system, upgraded elevators, energy-efficient windows and siding, and a complete renovation of the apartments.
Mayor Emily Larson, hitting third in the speaking lineup, called the revitalized 14-story, 150-unit facility “preservation of critical affordable housing.”
“I’m proud of the community for saying, ‘We’re not letting this go,’ ” she said.
When it was over, Dick Peterson joined the others in a self-guided tour of a pristine new one-bedroom apartment.
“I’m impressed,” said Peterson, who is on the board of trustees with First United Methodist Church (aka the “copper-top church”), which originated Gateway Tower more than 40 years ago and was the longtime owner of the building. Larson spoke about how the church ultimately couldn’t afford the much-needed remodel, but wanted to see its mission continued.
“My mother lived here for 17 years,” said Peterson, recalling her time fondly.