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New retail, office development planned along Central Entrance in Duluth

This area on Central Entrance across from Cub Foods in Duluth, extending from Anderson Road to the area close to the intersection with Mall Drive near Home Depot, is slated to be the site of a new retail and office development. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

A new retail and office development is in the works along Duluth's Central Entrance, across from the Stone Ridge Shopping Center.

Watson Centers, a Minneapolis-based company that also developed and manages Stone Ridge, is planning a three-building development that would total about 40,000 square feet of space. It would be west of Anderson Road and east of the development that includes Home Depot, Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden and an under-construction Hampton Inn & Suites.

Dave Watson, president of Watson Centers, said the plan is for one main building of about 30,000 square feet — 15,000 for retail on the first floor, 15,000 for office space on the second floor.

There would be two other buildings on outparcels — 5,000 square feet for one, 6,000 for the other — aimed at a restaurant or other drive-thru-type business.

"We are in discussions with a handful of tenants, and continue to try to get in front of additional tenants, national and local, that would be interested in taking some space in that property," Watson said.

He said the as-yet-unnamed development is "going to be a higher-end center — that's what we're shooting for."

The development on the 6-acre site would be accessed from Central Entrance and Anderson Road. It's in its early stages, with designs still being worked on and no permitting yet from the city. Watson said the goal is to start construction in spring 2017.

Keith Hamre, Duluth's director of planning and construction services, said city officials have had preliminary conversations with the developers, and what's being planned is "consistent with our comprehensive plan and zoning for the area."

Hamre noted that the site is adjacent to a residential area, so a "respectful" entrance and buffer between the development and the neighborhood will be a requirement.

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