Northland Building cleared for demo

The county-owned Northland building in Virginia has received approval to be torn down after a buyer couldn't be found.

VIRGINIA — Bring in the bulldozers.

The Northland Building, up for sale since Aug. 9, is slated for demolition next year after no purchase proposals were made to St. Louis County.

Interested buyers had until Sept. 23 to submit a plan to make the building a “viable entity” that would provide jobs and pay taxes on the property. Offering the building for sale was an agreement the St. Louis County Board made with city of Virginia officials in a last-ditch effort to save the structure.

“We actually went out there looking for people,” said Commissioner Keith Nelson of Fayal Township. “We tried.”

The county wasn’t expecting any offers on the 100-year-old building.

Nelson said the timeline on the Northland Building remains the same — demolition to start late next fall and construction beginning in 2018.

Board members and county staff are working in design phases, which is being modeled after the Government Service Center in Duluth.

The new building, which will go up across the street, will be called the Government Service Center North.

Studies performed on the Northland Building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, revealed it was not in restorable conditions for current or future building standards, the county said in a memo. Nelson said the issues include cracks in the walls, water problems, a roof that cannot support more insulation and deteriorating footings.

In June, the Virginia City Council voted 5-2 on its intent to demolish the building rather than purchase it from the county.

Demolition is at the cost of the county, which the city estimated at $300,000 to $500,000.

With no sale proposal into the county, the Northland Building is on the board’s Tuesday agenda in Duluth, but no action is required.

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