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Construction Zone: Essentia's Sixth Avenue Building
[December 17, 2012]

Construction Zone: Essentia's Sixth Avenue Building

Dec 17, 2012 (Duluth News Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- What: Essentia Health's Sixth Avenue Building.

Where: 421 N. Sixth Ave. E.

Project: The former Daugherty Hardware building is being renovated into offices for Essentia Health System support staff.

Purpose: "We need additional space," said Harvey Anderson, Essentia's vice president of facilities.

Most of the space will be used by the Essentia Institute of Rural Health which is currently spread out in various locations around Essentia's Duluth campus.

This will get them together and allow for their expected future growth, he said.

Several other departments -- including marketing and communications and corporate compliance -- also will move to the building, he said.

Size: Offices will take up about 35,000 square feet in the building including the entire 20,000-square-foot first floor and about half of the second floor.

Owner: Essentia Health System.

Work being done: The building essentially was an undeveloped warehouse before, Anderson said.

"We're developing it, putting in a lot of open office areas and private areas," he said. "There was very little demolition done. We're insulating and putting on a new exterior." Numerous windows have been added to the formerly windowless building to provide a more pleasant office site. With largely open offices, light will filter in, he said.

Cost: $4.8 million.

Background: The project follows last year's conversion of half the second floor into a secure data center for Involta, an Iowa-based information data storage company that expanded to Duluth. The center, storing data for Essentia Health System, is a secondary Duluth site for Involta, which built its primary data center at Rice Lake and Arrowhead roads.

General Contractor: Ray Riihiluoma Inc. of Cloquet.

Architect: LHB in Duluth.

Timeline: Work began in August and is scheduled to be completed in mid-February.

Status: About 60 percent of the exterior work, including insulation, window installation and new metal siding, is done. The interior work is about 50 percent complete.

Employees: The new space will accommodate nearly 200 Essentia employees as well as new jobs created with the Institute of Rural Health.

Construction jobs: The project is providing 75 to 80 construction jobs.

___ (c)2012 the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minn.) Visit the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minn.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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