Clothing retailer donates downtown building to U of M – Duluth

A little downtown campus action. (DuluthMN via Flickr)

MPR reporter Dan Kraker reports:

A Duluth-based woman's clothing retailer announced today it will donate one of its current headquarters buildings to the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Maurices is building a new office headquarters slated to open in December next year.

The company is currently spread out in three buildings. It will donate the largest one, a four-story, 75-thousand square foot building to UMD, and sell the other two.

Maurices president George Goldfarb says bringing the university downtown will increase educational opportunities for its own employees and other workers.

"Our vision was certainly to bring education downtown with business," he said. "It just makes so much sense."

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UMD will take ownership of the building in early 2016.

Chancellor Lendley Black said he hopes to begin offering some classes that fall -- continuing education courses and certificate programs tailored to people working downtown, in the evenings and over the lunch hour.

He said the university has explored expanding downtown for several years, "but because of budget constraints and the new economic realities we’re in, we were not in a position to purchase or even lease a building of this magnitude."

According to the company's announcement, the building was recently renovated and contains a fitness center, loft area, auditorium, conference rooms and other meeting spaces.