Historic jailhouse apartments bring new housing options to Duluth

Historic jailhouse apartments bring new housing options to Duluth
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:41 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. --After being unused for about a decade, the St. Louis County Jailhouse brought on new life.

“So, we have a mix of studio units, one-bedroom units, two-bedroom units,” said one of the building’s project developers, Meghan Elliott. “In a building like this, we have 33 units, and 33 different floor plans.”

Leijona apartments officially opened its doors Friday.

“We had seven units leased and seven families moved in,” said Elliott. “We still have the balance remaining, so we have more units that accommodate more households.”

There’s still available income-restricted and market-priced units.

“This is intended to accommodate a diverse set of family needs and household needs. Especially across different economic levels in the city of Duluth,” Elliott said.

Rent ranges from $895 to about $1,900 for different-sized units.

For workers, the $9 million project was no small feat, especially after the 14 months of construction to turn these rooms that once housed criminals, into homes.

“The housing situation in Duluth I think is understood as acute. There is a really desperate need for more housing units,” said Jon Commers, a developer with New Burnham LLC.

Developers hoped to make a small dent in Duluth’s housing crisis.

“I think it will be helpful,” said Commers. “Is it at the scale to address the issue fully? No, it’s not. There is a lot more work to be done on that front.”

An unconventional approach, bringing much-needed housing options to the area.

“It’s a mix of hopefulness that this becomes a part of the Duluth community,” said Elliott. “I’ll also say it’s the start of the next chapter for this building.”

As for parking, there is enough space for every tenant in the building.

Available spots on the west and east side of the building.

They also have arrangements with the city to possibly lease spaces in the nearby city ramp.