Planning & Development

Duluth Commercial Historic Design Guidelines

In 2006, a portion of Duluth’s central business district was nominated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Duluth Commercial Historic District (click for link to map).   The purpose of historic districts is, in part, to preserve the character of a neighborhood by retaining historic buildings and features while ensuring that new construction and additions are compatible with their historic surroundings.

The city is proposing historic design guidelines to assist property owners and contractors in determining appropriate treatment for existing historic buildings and landscape elements within the historic district, as well as to help provide direction when new structures are proposed to be constructed within the downtown historic district.  The proposed downtown historic standards will give guidance on maintaining, repairing, and, when necessary, replacing historic features.  Maintaining a neighborhood’s historic character has social, economic, and environmental benefits beyond achieving and preserving a particular aesthetic appearance.  Well-preserved neighborhoods with historic character can also attract visitors and investment.  These proposed standards would only apply to properties within the 2006 historic district boundaries. 

There will be another round of informational meetings in late September, to show the final proposed document.  The goal is to share the final document with the Heritage Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission later this fall, and the City Council before the end of the year.  If adopted, these guidelines would not be effective until early 2022.

Link to PowerPoint that was presented end of July 2021

Link to Draft Commercial Historic District Design Guidelines (New! 8/12/21)  This is a work in progress, and will continue to be updated and amended through the fall.