If you have not visited Downtown Duluth in the last several months, you may be astounded at the array of new businesses and the very visible change in the landscape. The old familiar historic buildings of Main Street remain but there is something new at almost every corner. There is new road construction, new traffic signals, new sidewalks, new pedestrian crossing areas, new buildings under construction, a new public plaza, new restaurants, new parking, new art installations, new Coleman Middle School, and new Main Street Shops. Perhaps most startling of all is no more Proctor Square shopping center, no more Proctor Square parking lot, and no more out parcel buildings in front of Proctor Square except the Pawn Shop. How do you know what you are seeing? Let’s take a quick tour.
A THE VILLAGE IN DULUTH (FORMER PROCTOR SQUARE)
B PARSONS ALLEY RESTAURANT DISTRICT
C HOMESOUTH COMMUNITIES TOWNHOME DEVELOPMENT
Dreamland BBQ, Piatto, O4WP, Epicurian Café are all new eateries to downtown. Dreamland BBQ is located at the heart of the Parsons Alley Complex at the top of Town Green on West Lawrenceville Street. Epicurian Café occupies the former Park Café location. Old Fourth Ward Pizza (O4WP) is now in the former Steverino’s location and Piatto has completely redeveloped the former Huthmaker’s Violin shop building into a full service restaurant upstairs and a bar downstairs.
New Retail Shops
Uni’k Hand Creations along with Eyes Have Not Seen join Peace Love and Decorating, American Threads, 2 Smith Gallery, and Eye Candy Art and Farmhouse Home Décor & Gifts with unique gifts, jewelry, art, and clothing options.
The Chocolaterie is the newest sweet shop featuring chocolates and hand dipped ice cream. Make sure you take a selfie with the Chocolate lady mural on the side of the building. Crave Pie is better than ever crafting the most delicious artisan pies right here in Downtown Duluth. Expresso Theory is here too with coffee and giant slices of cakes and fudge.
New Public Plaza
The center of the Parsons Alley complex is the newly completed public plaza. It features granite walls, Brazilian Ipe wood decking, future art installations, and wide sidewalks.
New Traffic Signal and Pedestrian Crossing
The old 3-way stop and rail road crossing at Main Street has been signalized and loaded up with activated pedestrian crossings. It was no small task to coordinate a traffic signal so close to the Buford Highway and Hwy. 120 signal crossed by a very active rail corridor. The traffic signal will allow safe passage to and from the Parsons Alley Complex and Main Street.
Proctor Square Demolition
The 1970’s shopping center has been removed along with the outparcel buildings which fronted Buford Hwy. Back in February 2016, Mayor and Council approved a $64,000,000 mixed-use development which will feature a wrapped parking deck with 371 units of housing, 11 retail units, and 2 restaurants. The Village in Duluth will be complete in 20 to 24 months.
Parsons Alley Complex
The ten-foot granite gateway sign on West Lawrenceville Street announces the entrance to a mixture of old and new buildings. Just like Main Street we build on the past to set the future. What you see under construction are the buildings we call 100, 200, 300, 500, and 600. They are the existing buildings like the Pastorium Building 100 and the Church Building 200 being redeveloped into restaurants and the new buildings 300, 500, and 600 which will be new restaurants and retail shops all coming together to form Parsons Alley.
Coleman Middle School
Most Duluth locals will know the name Brooks Coleman. He was the voice of the Duluth Wildcats for many years and is a retired educator and now his great record of service has been honored by naming the new middle school in Downtown Duluth after him. The school is the first Science Technology Engineering Arts Math middle school in the Gwinnett Education System.
CITY OF DULUTH
CONTACT Chris McGahee
TITLE Economic Development Manager
FUN FACT Old City Hall and New City Hall sit atop the Eastern Continental Divide!
Also published on Medium.