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Duluth Planning Commission approves Park Point marina hotel plans

Image courtesy BDP Architects

The Duluth Planning Commission on Tuesday approved the next step for the proposed hotel at Harbor Cove Marina on Park Point by sending an approved building and site plan to the City Council to consider. The commission approved the three-story plan 7-0.

Last month, commissioners voted 5-2 to recommend that the City Council approve a zoning change from industrial-waterfront to mixed use-waterfront on the site at 1003 Minnesota Ave.

City planning staff members gave their input on both occasions and recommended approval.

Park Point residents have expressed concerns about congestion, safety, aging utilities and quality of life on Park Point if the development occurs.

Commission President Drew Digby told city planners that they needed to make sure those concerns were addressed.

Jenn Reed Moses from the city said the development created "no traffic


Keith Hamre, interim manager of the city Planning Department, said the developer will need to provide water main service to the hotel but that there is enough water coming into Park Point to handle the draw from a 55-room hotel.

The hotel will include a pool and meeting rooms. The design, which includes 48-foot towers, was inspired by the Duluth Boat Club clubhouse that stood on the site in the early 1900s.

The 104-slip marina would continue to operate at the site.

Digby voted against the rezoning after the city Engineering Department expressed concerns about the utilities on the Point. He jabbed staff again about that Tuesday but voted for the plans.

Marina co-owner Terry Anderson said construction of the 37,000-square-foot structure could begin by early June.

When Anderson's plans came to light in March, Joel Johnson at Lakehead Boat Basin next door said his plans were still on for a $22 million, nine-story, 90-room hotel. It got the required zoning change a year ago, and Johnson said the final plans still are being worked over.

Kenwood plan OK'd

The planning commission also sent the City Council its approval of a plan to convert the former Kenwood Edison elementary school into apartments.

Residents from the neighborhood around the school voiced fears of the area becoming too dense with housing, though the park area of the former school grounds was not part of the discussion. Developer Greg Carlson hasn't announced any plans for the green space.

The commissioners liked the reuse of an old building and cited similar successful renovations of schools in the past.

Carlson had a meeting with residents to alleviate parking and traffic worries.

He purchased the property with the 1925 school for $270,000 last year. There are 25 units planned for the old school with 35 bedrooms.

Last fall, Duluth Edison Charter schools merged students from its Kenwood and Washburn Junior Academy sites into a new school, North Star Academy, on Rice Lake Road.