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Building revitalization
Community invited to ribbon-cutting ceremony for Duluth Downtown

DULUTH - The Mathias Corp. and Street Smarts are inviting the community to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for Duluth Downtown and tour the new 40,000-square-foot building that will serve as headquarters for the two companies and generate more daytime activity in the city.

The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., and the building will be open for tours until 5 p.m.

Constructed by Mathias Corp., the recently completed two-story office-retail building is located on Main Street across from Duluth City Hall and the Town Green.

"Between the two companies, we will bring about 100 employees into the city," Mathias Corp. President Dave Heydinger said.

Mathias Corp., a Duluth-based construction company founded in 1995, also built the new City Hall, Parkside at the Duluth Town Green, and the Condominiums at Towne Park Place behind City Hall.

Street Smarts, a Duluth-based transportation planning, design and engineering consulting firm, is owned by Duluth City Councilwoman Marsha Anderson Bomar.

Founded in 1990, Street Smarts also has offices in Orlando and Tallahassee, Fla., and Dallas, Texas.

The architecture of the building, constructed of red brick with simulated limestone accents, fits in with the turn-of-the-century style prevalent in the city's downtown revitalization. Heydinger said architectural elements of old buildings in Georgia cities such as Madison, Gainesville and Athens, that he visited were used in the design of the new structure.

Duluth-based Hill Foley Rossi & Associates was the building's architect.

"The building looks like it's been there a long time," said Heydinger. "Somebody asked me the other day if I had redone an old building. That's the look we were trying to achieve."

Street Smarts will occupy 24,000 square feet of the building, and Mathias Corp. will utilize 7,000 square feet.

"Our building is a critical element in the plan for the city and demonstrates the quality of this community," Bomar said.

Still available are about 2,000 to 2,500 square feet of upstairs office space and 7,500 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space. About 20,000 square feet of parking is located under the building.

Mathias Corp. and Street Smarts are moving into the new building

this month.

Bomar plans to open an upscale coffee and chocolate shop in the building in December. "Chocolate Perks will be a warm gathering place where the delicious coffee, desserts, chocolates, breakfast, and lunch will complement the conversation," Bomar said. "We will have special events in the shop and cater off-site events."

Hopefully, the building will give Duluth's downtown revitalization "a big boost," Heydinger said, and help promote the city as a place "to live, work and visit."