It's still happening! Actually it's happening as you read! The new hotel being constructed on Park Point next to the Park Point Marina will stand 118 feet tall (9 floors) and will feature 90 rooms, event space, and also a convince store that will be open to the public. Construction originally was hoped to have started in the fall, but do to some set backs construction had to be pushed back until spring. With spring on it's way, and a rather warm winter having occurred, site work was able to being in December and continue through the winter. The physical hotel should begin to rise out of the ground sometime in April, with a projected opening of late 2012 or early 2013.
As many know this project has been a very controversial issue when it comes to Duluthians. A large majority of people are extremely angered by the project saying that added traffic, noise, people, and the size of the project, will completely change the entire feel of the project. Others are angered because the project was able to slip through the planning commission and never officially was viewed by the Mayor, who says he would not have approved such a project. Then you have to other side of Duluthians who are excited about the project saying that it will not only fill a void for hotel rooms on Park Point, but it also will boost the economy in not only Duluth, but the region. What I keep hearing is that people are afraid that Park Point is going to turn into some type of "Miami Beach."
Here's my take on the project. Why stop something that is going to only better Duluth? What Duluthians tend to fail to realize is that Duluth already is a city of 86,000 people and attracts over 3.5 million tourists a year. You cannot stop growth when it comes to the tourism side of Duluth, and if you are hoping to have growth on the residential side of Duluth, you need to create a functioning city that keeps people wanting to stay here. You need to have development to keep a new fresh image for this city going. I don't think growth on Park Point is a bad thing. Why? Because the entire island is already developed. For anyone who knows Park Point, you already know that when you venture down there you see houses piled four deep. It's not like development is going to hurt the island, in my mind I actually see it cleaning it up a little. And the issue that is arising with the height of the building, I say that's great. It will create a really cool image I think when it's done. If you really want to create projects that are going to want to keep people coming back, I think you need to give them a something really special, and that view those hotel rooms will have on Park Point will be just that. The building's height isn't creating an obstruction to anyone's view, and trust me I know this because my home looks right onto Park Point. It would be different if they were building a 50 story building, but I think as long was the buildings stay at a relatively low height, Duluth will be fine. To be honest, I wouldn't mind a little bit of a Miami Beach feel to the end of Park Point. Let's keep one end really residential with single family homes, and then the end that's closer to Canal Park, let's make that a little more urban. I think it'd create a really neat area. And hey! On the bright side at least Park Point is finally getting it's little convince store/market back!
(Image from the Duluth News Tribune)