Still more work to be done, city says; Duluth growing impatient

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Duluth Trading Company cleared another procedural hurdle Wednesday night, March 8 by securing preliminary approval for architectural plans for the company's proposed Waukesha location at 2320 Bluemound Road.

The city's plan commission OK'd the plans on a 4-1 vote. Commissioner R. G. Keller was the lone dissenter. The approval marks another key step towards redevelopment of the site, which sits just south of Home Depot on the city's northeast side.

Last month, the commission approved preliminary site and architectural plans for the project, but did not vote on the architectural plans and asked Duluth Trading to work with city staff to redesign portions of the building.

According to planning documents and staff, several proposed changes, such as adding windows to the structure's south side, which faces Bluemound, were made to the plans in the four weeks since the project was initially discussed.

RELATED: Duluth Trading Co. eyeing Waukesha location

However, plan commissioners and staff suggested some additional architectural changes before the proposal comes before the commission again for final approval.

Jay Moore of the Minnesota-based Oppidan Investment Company, which is developing the project, said he and the project team "took exception" to comments that suggested the building's design still needed work.

He told the commission that Duluth Trading had already spent a lot of money designing the project and could not and would not wait much longer for final approval.

"If you don't like the building, we're going to move on," he said.

RELATED: Duluth Trading Co., e-retailer, takes a crack at storefront

Plans call for the 15,500-square foot standalone store to be built on the southwest portion of the Home Depot lot. The main entrance would be on the building's east side.

Duluth sells rugged casual clothing and work wear as well as accessories and some gadgets.

The company's first brick-and-mortar store opened in Mount Horeb in 2010, and it has experienced significant growth in recent years, becoming a publicly traded company in 2015.

According to the company's website, there are currently 16 Duluth stores operating in nine states.

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