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Questions arise surrounding the future of Kozy building following Sunday fire

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DULUTH, MN. -- For the second time this year, fire crews were called to the Pastoret Terrace, also known as the Kozy Building, in downtown Duluth as smoke billowed from the vacant building.

This just days after the Duluth Economic Development Authority gave the green light to the city to spend over $100,000 on restorations to the Kozy.

Shortly before 10 A.M. Sunday, fire crews responded to the intersection of First Street and Second Avenue East.

According to fire officials, the fire started on the second floor and spread throughout the building.

Crews were on scene for several hours Sunday containing the blaze.

Flames could be seen coming from windows as heavy smoke filled Downtown Duluth.

This is coming just five days after the Duluth Economic Development Authority authorized city staff to spend up to $135,000 to button up the property for winter, pending approval from the City Council.

"It's in question about what is going to happen next because that was supposed to go to the city council at our next meeting on November 9th," said Arik Forsman, Duluth City Councilor.

Sunday's fire could make things more unclear for what the future of the historic building will look like.

"I understand the concern about it completely. I share those concerns about putting any money into this facility. Still, it's also really important for the city to do what we have to do to fulfill our legal obligations," said Forsman.

The building has had a complicated history since a fire first caused damage in 2010, with litigations back and forth whether it should continue to stand or preserve its history.

"At one time when we were building this memorial, we had the past, the present, and the future all intersecting right here on 2nd Avenue East and 1st Street," said Henry Banks, Founder and First Chair of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.

Banks said that he no longer sees the value of investing in the Kozy.

"I can not see investing thousands if not millions of dollars into this particular building until we get our acts together from the standpoint that we are going to maintain buildings appropriately," said Banks.

Banks is hoping those in charge come together to make a decision to prevent fires like these from happening again.

There is no word on what caused the fire.

No one was hurt.

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back for updates.

Ryan Compeau

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