Taking a sneak peek at Lincoln Park's Clyde IronWith the finishing touches left to go on the redeveloped industrial space in Lincoln Park, developer Alessandro Giuliani is working toward opening in early May.
By: Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune
A black and white photograph of Clyde Iron Works employees, circa 1917, runs nearly the length of the south wall in the almost-completed renovated space in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Homage to these workers is important to developer Alessandro Giuliani, who is hoping his patrons will recognize family members in the artwork adorning the walls, both in framed pictures and the giant mural photograph. In fact, he plans to eventually host an event targeting those with memories of the building’s past life as a heavy equipment factory.
“It’s the history of the building that I want to display,” Giuliani said Friday. “I want to make sure that is represented correctly.”
The venue — about 98 percent complete, Giuliani estimates — made its debut Saturday during the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra’s annual fundraiser, the Symphony Soiree. But this was a sneak peek just for the 450 standing room attendees. Giuliani is shooting for an early May opening for the restaurant, brewery and bakery at 14 S. 29th Ave. W. — a $9.1 million renovation of 36,000 square feet. Giuliani said he is working on the finishing touches, including artwork and hiring staff. Management has been hired; recipes have been tested.
With the project, Giuliani has tried to stay true to the building’s roots. The structure has exposed brick and original visible beams. Brick and wood were harvested from other Clyde buildings on the property and are used in the flooring, stairs and even the picnic table-style dining surfaces.
“We were going to reclaim and use what we could, and make it last another 100 years,” Giuliani said.
The restaurant area is about 22,000 square feet with 49-foot ceilings and an open floor plan, with the wood-burning stoves used for cooking the restaurant’s pizza, meat and pasta behind a counter along a wall.
Diners will be able to see some of the food preparation. There are more than 20 windows on the north, south and west sides of the restaurant, and each is 12 feet tall by 4 feet wide, allowing for natural light most of the day.
Service style is fast-casual: Order at a counter, and meals will be served and tables cleared by the staff.
The bakery will be on the north side of the space, and Giuliani said those traveling on Michigan Street will be able to see the day’s breads and baked goods in the window, and also to smell them.
A wide wooden staircase inside the front doors leads to a second-level loft, which has two social areas. A long wooden bar is set up in the northeast corner, with stools along the opposite wall. This room is connected to another area that will have soft seating, a large screen for viewing games and films, and pool tables.
At the back of the former warehouse is a party space that is about 14,000 square feet, with 34-foot ceilings and a deep lofted catacomb forming a half-circle around a cement floor. This is where MASS Ensemble assembled its Earth Harp, a 100-foot string instrument that extended from a stage to the rafters of the ceiling on the other side of the room — one of the star features of the DSSO event. Attendees of the fundraiser were virtually sitting inside the harp.
“We wanted something over the top — unusual and interesting,” said Dennis Lamkin, a member of the DSSO board of directors who in January helped secure the space for Saturday’s event. “The stars aligned.”
Giuliani already has booked the space for wedding receptions and also sees it being used for concerts, theatrical productions and conferences. It can hold about 1,200 people and already has attracted the attention of local promoters, he said.
He calls the entire building a piece of art in itself.
“I don’t think you could have a better kickoff to show how it turned out,” Giuliani said of the soiree.