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Duluth Radisson delays reopening for a few more days

The reopening of the Radisson hotel in downtown Duluth has been pushed back again, but this time only a few days to June 6. The hotel has been closed since the hotel's water service line broke on March 13 during a planned repair job for the hotel...

The reopening of the Radisson hotel in downtown Duluth has been pushed back again, but this time only a few days to June 6.

The hotel has been closed since the hotel's water service line broke on March 13 during a planned repair job for the hotel. It flooded the basement mechanical room, knocking out power and damaging the boilers, heating and cooling systems and power panels.

Utilities as old as the hotel itself, which opened in 1970, have been replaced in a lengthy process, hotel officials say.

A targeted May 1 reopening was pushed back to May 15, then to June 2 and now June 6.

"There's been a delay in getting pieces and parts together, the inspections and meeting codes, and just getting up and running," General Manager Jeff Briner said.

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The hotel was preparing for a soft opening, so it had taken only 50 reservations for June 2 through June 5.

"We were very conservative with that, so we weren't taking many reservations at all for that week," Briner said. "But we're not going soft with the June 6 opening. We're pretty busy."

Since those reservations were for Sunday through Wednesday nights, which are slower days for hotels, other hotels can accommodate them, he said.

While the power has been back on for more than a week, the hotel still lacks running water, which is expected to be back on next week. Contributing to the delay in reopening are the loss of work time over the Memorial Day holiday, plus the tasks of getting the water valves and settings right and the five days it will take to chlorinate the pool water, Briner said.

Even without water, housekeepers were back on the job this week beginning the process of cleaning the 268 rooms and much of the hotel.

"There's no water, so they did vacuuming and dusting," Briner said, adding that with water back on next week, the cleaning will move into high gear.

The restaurant and kitchen staff haven't been called back yet.

After being closed for more than two months, Briner said they've lost a few of their 75 laid-off employees who have found other jobs.

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"We lost maybe 5 percent of our staff," he said, noting that some were non-union employees who hadn't worked for the company long and weren't invested.

The Radisson's recent help-wanted newspaper ad seeking banquet housemen and kitchen stewards is primarily the annual gearing-up for the busy summer season rather than replacing employees who are not returning, he said.

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