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Nine story hotel project back on the boards for Park Point

Remember a few years back when plans for a $22 million, nine story 90 room hotel project was proposed for a site at 1001 Minnesota Avenue on Park Point? It started quite a large controversy as it sailed through the city offices but then received an uprising from area residents when they gained knowledge of what was planned for their neighborhood. Well, that project is back... and it's still nine stories.

Side Elevations | Duluth Planning Comission

We can remember when the fight for this project began and our development hearts were quivering with excitement with the thought of arguably the first high rise coming to Park Point. However, the last news about the project occurred in June 2013 when it was stated that the project was no longer planned to the development being forced to build in a smaller site and the fact that a variance for the height of the structure would need to be sought out. Developer Joel Johnson of the Lakehead Boat Basin said that even with those set backs that the the project would still be built in the future and that it was only a matter of time.

The future is now, the project is back, and it appears it hasn't changed that much since 2013. The project designed by SRA Architects includes a nine story tower that features a modern design with large glass windows as the focal piece. What has changed is the fact that it now has an official name. Drum roll please. It will be called Park Pointe Inn at The Lakehead Basin.

The developers will go before the city planning commission on March 10th seeking out a height variance for the project at 1001 Minnesota Avenue. At that meeting we will see the specifics of what this project will exactly include. We'll also see if opinions and mindsets regarding the project have changed since 2012/13.

As always check back to CDINDULUTH for more information regarding this project and many more in the Twin Ports.

Our View

Back in 2013 when the project was originally set to begin constructed it received quite a bit of opposition from neighbors and Mayor Don Ness. Many at the time were saying that the project was going to stick out "like a sore thumb." We agree. Change is difficult.

However here's were we think differently. Yes, the project is nine stories and will be the only thing of substantial height on Park Point. But at the same time there are always sore thumbs when it comes to a city. Sore thumbs in the building world are what start the growth of a specific area. Plus let's be honest here. We should be looking at the positives of this project as there are many.

First off, the hotel is situated as close to the Canal Park side of Park Point as possible. It would be a different story if the hotel were to be built midway down the sand bar near the middle of Park Point where it truly would stand out like "a sore thumb" and the idea of future development surrounding the site would be questionable. We must keep in mind that Duluth is on a path of growth for the future and that projects like these will become increasingly common as the city grows.

On that note, let's set a good precedent for future projects and let's identify a logical area for this growth to occur. Park Point is only set to further grow within the future. It wouldn't be a surprise to us if we see additional larger structures proposed for the area including residential projects that could come in great numbers. After all, we've heard some say Duluth is poised to become the "Miami of the north."

Lastly, the views from these hotel rooms would be absolutely stunning. Can you imagine the views on all sides of this project? There wouldn't be a bad room in the entire place. Not only would this be a great asset to Park Point but it really would drive business to Park Point and help support future business growth by local residents and national business' a like.

We'd love to see some of your thoughts and comments below.

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