Construction Delayed on New Maurices HQ in Duluth

Construction on the new downtown Duluth office tower that will house Maurices’ national headquarters will not begin until spring 2013, about 6 months later than projected.

Construction has been delayed by about six months on the downtown Duluth corporate office building that will house the national headquarters of women’s clothing retailer Maurices.

Chris Eng, the city’s director of business and economic development, told the Duluth News Tribune that demolition of the building on Superior Street and Fifth Avenue West, which was projected for last winter or this spring, may not happen until this fall.
 
Maurices will take up the majority of the tower, as it has invested $30 million of its own capital into the building project. The new building will welcome 350 of Maurices’ 6,000-plus employees worldwide.
 
This delay will likely complicate things for Maurices. Its employee base has been expanding steadily as the company has experienced continued success due to strong online sales and new store openings.
 
The company in September reported fiscal 2012 profits totaling nearly $103 million, the second-highest ever reached by the company and topped only by the $114.6 million it achieved in 2011. Sales for the year increased 10 percent to $853 million.

The company had a strong start to its 2013 fiscal year as well: For the first quarter that ended in January, profits were up 24.8 percent year-over-year to $29.6 million. Sales for the quarter totaled a record $224.6 million, up 10.6 percent from the same period last year.
 
Founded as a small women’s fashion shop in Duluth in 1931, Maurices is ever expanding and has now grown to more than 850 stores in both the United States and Canada. Maurices is owned by New York-based Ascena Retail Group, Inc., which also owns retail brands Justice, Lane Bryant, and Dressbarn.
 
The current timetable for the tower projects the completion in August 2015, according to the newspaper.
 
The building was one of nine projects chosen in 2012 to receive a portion of the $47.5 million in state funds that were part of a $496 million bonding bill.
 
In other Duluth news, a designer and builder was announced for Duluth’s new Multimodal Transportation Center. Duluth-based LHB Engineers and Architect will design the transit hub and Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction will be the lead contractor, according to a report by the Duluth News Tribune. The $28.9 million facility will be located at Third Avenue West and Michigan Street and is scheduled to begin in the fall and finish by November 2014.