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DEDA grants 1-month extension for Seaway purchase

The sale of the Seaway Hotel property will take a little longer to complete than initially anticipated.

The Duluth Economic Development Authority voted 6-1 Wednesday night to grant a one-month extension to the timeline for the Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority to complete the transaction.

Chris Eng, Duluth’s business and economic development director, offered assurances that the complicated deal is still on solid footing despite the delay.  

Just two months ago, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency approved $1.1 million of capital funding for improvements to the building and $498,000 for operational expenses to manage the property for the next three years.

For its part, DEDA has agreed to provide a $230,000 loan to the HRA, which has agreed to buy the deteriorated building and make necessary improvements to keep it viable. The former hotel in Duluth’s Lincoln Park now operates as an apartment building, providing low-cost units for about 70 tenants.

Duluth City Councilor and DEDA Commissioner Jay Fosle cast the only vote against the extension. He had earlier voted against the Seaway loan, as well, saying he was not comfortable investing public dollars in a building that’s not expected to generate sufficient revenue to support its own continued operation.