DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - A historic building in Duluth is set to receive millions of dollars from the state to help with renovations and restorations to its structure.

The Armory Arts and Music Center, located on London Road, will receive $4.5 million from the state’s bonding bill. In a legacy project, the Armory has partnered with Sherman Associates to rehabilitate the building and develop it into a community-centered space.

The vision includes a large-scale community food hall, an after-school music program for students, as well as a North Country exhibit showcasing the history of entertainers like Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, and Bob Dylan.

“The funding came at such an appropriate time as we are celebrating Bob Dylan’s Birthday week and Dylan Fest this week,” Executive Director Mark Poirier said.

The renovations will also include space for artist studios, a restored stage, and a ballroom for events.

“Our community really needs places to gather, as we get through the pandemic, we see how important gathering is to the community,” Poirier said. “So that’s what we see the Armory becoming. It always functioned in its day as a gathering place.”

The Armory has been a fixture in the city for more than 100 years. It opened in 1915 as a military training facility and eventually became an entertainment event space.

The Armory Legacy Project has a price tag of $42 million. It originally requested $7.5 million from the state and Poirier says the $4.5 million will help close that gap with funding and keep business local. The first two tenants to sign on in the food hall include Warrior Brewing Company and Love Creamery.

There will be masonry repairs on the outside of the Armory through the summer of 2023. Construction is slated to start next spring with the newly renovated Armory expected to open to the public in 2025.

To learn more about the renovation project and how to volunteer or donate, click here

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