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Seaway Hotel in Duluth to change name to Esmond Building

The Seaway Hotel is about to get a new name. The once-troubled Lincoln Park boarding house now will be known as the Esmond Building.

“We thought a new name would help breathe new life into the building,” said Rick Ball, executive director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth. “It signifies that the property is under new ownership and management that is making progress with continued improvements. We want this to be a change for the good for the whole business district. The name change recognizes this is a new era for the property that we hope will be positive for everyone.”

The name Esmond is etched into the stonework above the east entrance of the building at 2001 W. Superior St. Ball said it appears to pay tribute to an Esmond Hotel that once operated in the business district and was run by the original proprietor of an establishment that came to be known by a variety of names, including the Hotel Rex, the Curtis Hotel, the Milner Hotel and then the Seaway Hotel.

The building provides low-cost housing for about 60 residents. The HRA purchased the building in July with financial help from the Duluth Economic Development Authority.

The building had sustained significant damage following a severe storm in June 2012 and was in danger of being condemned for human habitation when the HRA intervened to keep vulnerable residents from being displaced. The authority obtained an emergency loan from the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund to fix the building’s roof, and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency provided another $1.1 million in funding for improvements.

Ball said work continues on the building. He expects the Seaway Hotel sign to be removed within the next month or so.