106 ROOM TRU BY HILTON PLANNED FOR CENTRAL ENTRANCE

RU_extday_1280x850_FitToBoxSmallDimension_Center.jpg

Once upon a time there was a hotel planned for a baren site on Central Entrance. That hotel was soon cancelled. End of story.

Today, plans are now being revealed for another hotel at the exact same site. The site is located at 525 E Central Entrance and currently is home to nothing more than a digital billboard. A few years back a Midwest developer had proposed building a four story Staybridge Suites extended stay hotel. However, those plans soon fizzled.

This time around, plans are being proposed for a four story, 106 room, Tru by Hilton hotel. You may not yet be familiar with the hotel brand as it is one of Hilton's newest.

Right now there are just 30 Tru hotels in the world, all of which are in the United States. Furthermore, there are currently NO Tru by Hilton locations in Minnesota. Plans were floated last month for a dual branded Tru by Hilton and Home 2 Suites hotel in Downtown Minneapolis, the company is also planning an additional 20 hotel locations throughout the country. So Duluth, consider yourself special.

The Tru by Hilton brand is aimed at millennials. The hotels are vibrant, affordable, and young-at-heart. In addition, the hotels are billed as energetic, yet relaxing and comfortable. Sounds like a Tru millennial experience, right?

The standard design for a hotel features a 2,200 square foot lobby that has space for working, playing games, eating, or just simply lounging. There's a free breakfast that was ranked in the "Top 30 Breakfasts" for hotels within the United States. While the rooms maybe smaller, each room features a comfortable bed and 55" TV with premium channels. The rest of the building features a fitness center, lobby with 24/7 market, and some hotels feature a pool and hot tub.

Room.jpg

At the moment there really aren't a great amount of details available about the hotel planned for Duluth, however when those become available in early February we will be sure to let you know.

The Tru by Hilton planned for Central Entrance will go before the Duluth Planning Commission at their February 13th meeting.

 

Green Light: Hampton Inn and Suites Superior


In two years time the Twin Ports will go from one Hampton Inn and Suites hotel to three. Plans for a third hotel, this time in Superior, were recently confirmed by Oliver Companies which plans to begin construction on the 4 story, 83 room hotel this Spring.

This isn't the first time that a Hampton Inn and Suites has been planned for Superior. Back in 2013 ZMC Hotels was proposing to build a Hampton Inn and Suites near the Richard I Bong Historical Center on Second Avenue East. The plans fell through when opposition stirred from area residents, rising construction costs, and the purchase of ZMC Hotels by another company.

The site where Oliver Companies will construction the new Hampton Inn and Suites is still on Second Street East this time however it is located directly next to the Holiday Inn Express where a Days Inn once stood. Oliver Companies originally planned to construct a Fairfield Inn and Suites on the site.

Construction on the second Hampton Inn location in Duluth CDINDULUTH

Hampton Inn currently has a 103 room hotel on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth's Canal Park. This summer a second Duluth location will open across from Texas Roadhouse in Duluth Heights off Mall Drive. That hotel will be four stories and will feature 91 rooms, slightly larger than the hotel planned for Superior.

If construction begins this Spring as according to plan the Superior Hampton Inn and Suites would open by May 2017.

 

70 room hotel planned for Park Point

A new 70 room, three story hotel is proposed for 1000 Minnesota Avenue on Duluth's iconic Park Point. The hotel if approved likely would begin construction in Spring 2016. 

The new design is a drastic cut back in size compared to the nine story glass tower originally proposed for the site. That design drew great concern and criticism from the surrounding neighborhood as it was considered to be too large for the area. Concerns also were centered around the increase in traffic for such a large hotel.

What will go before the Duluth Planning Commission at their September 8th meeting is a three story structure that will feature 70 hotel rooms, a pool, lounge area, and great views of the Lake Basin Marina. Unique to the plan would also be a 900 square foot convenience store.The store would be located within the font lobby and would be open to the public, most of which would likely be customers from the marina steps away from the front door.

While it is unclear at the moment if this hotel will be independently run or feature a brand name documents suggest that it could potentially be branded as an AmericInn. The company is based on of the Twin Cities and currently has 203 locations mainly in the Midwest. The hotels are known for their continental breakfasts along with the up to 14 different guest rooms floor plans.

Click the images below to see plans for the hotel. Any additional details regarding this project will be availble on our website as they become available.

Exterior elevations of the new three story hotel. 

Floor plans for the new hotel. 

Site plan for the new hotel. 

Hotel project planned for Park Point... Again.

Could the third time be the charm for a local developer hoping to construct a hotel on Duluth's Park Point?  

Island Inn and Suites, LCC will be presenting plans to the city of Duluth at their September 5th meeting for a new hotel at 1000 Minnesota Avenue. This is the site where two other hotels have been proposed in the last five years, both of which were large scale hotels that would be have unique to Park Point.  

SO WHAT'S THE ISSUE? 

Height. The first time the owner of the site proposed a 9 story hotel and it was approved by the city as it went pretty much under the radar through the Planning Commission. However construction did not begin within the set time period that the permit was issued for and the project was cancelled.

When the plan went back to the Planning Commission for a second round this past March, this time with the name Park Pointe Inn at the Lakehead Basin, the hotel remained pretty much the same as before. What was needed for the project to move forward was a height variance so it could construct the nine stories as originally planned. The height variance was not granted due to due to neighborhood opposition. 

THIS TIME AROUND

It's unclear what is exactly planned for the site this time around but it is most likely is not going to be the size of the plans that we have seen in the past. If it were, we honestly would be surprised.

What can be expected is something on a smaller scale, but don't expect anything too small. It's a coveted site on Park Point and the amount of money that will be required to develop it will in turn mean that something of a larger size would need to be built there in order to make it feasible.

We'll have more details on this exciting project soon.

 

Need a room? La Quinta Inn and Suites opens early

When we posted an article about La Quinta Inn and Suites opening their brand new Duluth hotel in about three weeks ago however at the time we noted that there could be a small chance that it would be completed before Grandma's Marathon. Well folks, a miracle has happened and La Quinta Inn and Suites is officially open for business.

The Duluth News Tribune that the hotel opened last night to guests, just in time for Grandma's Marathon weekend. It almost as if we can hear the sighs of relief among those still looking for hotel rooms in Duluth's during the busiest weekend of the year. Good news guys, 93 rooms just became available.

The new hotel is located on at 1805 Maple Grove Road in Duluth. For reservations visit their website here.

 

La Quinta Inn and Suites plans late June opening

Ladies and Gentlemen the new La Quinta Inn and Suites in Duluth is officially taking reservations.

If you're looking for a room for Grandma's Marathon weekend though you're out of luck not because the hotel is sold out like almost every other hotel in the area but rather because the hotel won't be ready yet. 

Reservations currently are being accepted for dates after Monday June 21st. La Quinta Inn and Suites representatives explained that the hotel currently has about 3 weeks left of construction. It might be questionable about how that could be the case from the looks of things outside however on the interior the place is bustling with work happening in almost every corner.

The new 3 story building has 96 rooms with 20 of those being suites. It'll be the first location for the La Quinta Inn and Suites brand in Northern Minnesota and the company's sixth within the state. Currently there are two locations in Bloomington, and one in Brooklyn Park, Minnetonka, and Rochester (also the company's newest location within the state).

  Above:  La Quinta Inn and Suites in Fort Worth, Texas features a similar interior design to what will debut in Duluth  (La Quinta)

Above: La Quinta Inn and Suites in Fort Worth, Texas features a similar interior design to what will debut in Duluth (La Quinta)

Guests may notice that Duluth's La Quinta Inn and Suites is a little different from most. The overall design features an upgrade from the typical La Quinta Inn and Suites prototype design. The city of Duluth didn't quite care for the signature "tower" design that is featured in the standard prototype design It was quickly shortened during the redesign process to now be only a tad higher than the rest of the building. The Duluth location is also entirely clad in brick versus the typical yellow and white stucco found on other locations.

The new hotel is minutes away from the airport and provides complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport, the Miller Hill Mall, Canal Park, and well, basically everywhere else your heart could desire within the city.

Inside guests will find modern interiors, free high speed wireless internet, a fitness center, indoor saltwater pool and jacuzzi, and of course free breakfast. Rooms are quite large and feature a 39" TV with premium cable channels, microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator, and oversized beds. Another great feature of the new La Quinta Inn and Suites is that the hotel will be pet friendly making sure that Fido feels right at home even when he is miles away.

While the hotel does not feature large banquet spaces there is a 300 square foot meeting room that is capable of holding 30 people for smaller meetings and presentations. 

We've included some photos below of a La Quinta Inn and Suites location that recently opened in Fort Worth, Texas (photos by La Quinta Inn and Suites). This location is designed in a similar format as to what will be featured here in Duluth however the color scheme could change to navy or warm reds.

The new La Quinta Inn and Suites project has already made a dramatic impact in the overall feel of the area due to its visibility from the Miller Trunk Highway. We are quite certain that this new hotel project is just the start of what will become multiple new developments that will truly change this particular area. It wouldn't surprise us if we saw a restaurant developed soon near the hotel site as many of the surrounding parcels of land are for sale and zoned commercially and we all know how hotel guests crave a good dinner.

Reservations for the new hotel beginning the week of June 21st can be made here.

 

The Silos at Pier B to break ground next week

It's a project that has been in the planning phase for about four years now and it's one that has a lot of area residents and tourists alike pretty excited. We're talking about the redevelopment of Pier B on the scenic and iconic Duluth waterfront. 

If you don't know already this is quite the ambitious development as it involves the redevelopment of a contaminated site and also water slip. Oh yes, in addition to that it also features a large cement silo. While the development has changed designs quite a few times over the years, even at one point being proposed as a 9 story building, it has always remained a question of not "if" but more so "when" this project would come to fruition.

Developers announced this week that financing for the project has been secured and that ground breaking is officially planned for first week of March (next week). It'll be the first commercial development on this side of the waterfront district in quite some time as the last development to take place over on this side of the waterfront was the creation of new Bayfront Festival Park in 2001. The land stretching past the park has remained almost entirely industrial for decades now. That is until now.

Designed by DSGW Architects of Duluth, The Silos at Pier B as the hotel is being called, will feature 140 guest rooms, a waterfront restaurant, banquet area, and a 20 boat slip marina. The development project will also extend the Lakewalk with the construction a slip bridge that will connect Pier B to Bayfront Festival Park. One important aspect of the project is the planned slip marina as it will be the first on this side of the bay.

Above you'll find the various designs of the project throughout the years.

The most recent design has had a few material changes to the exterior but remains largely unchanged from the designs that you can find on our PROJECT PAGE for the Silos at Pier B. We will update those renderings as soon as they become available.

Exactly what is planned for the silos on site has yet to be determined. Developers state that "there are endless possibilities" for the structure as it is stable and sound. Some ideas include a rock climbing center, hotel rooms on top or inside the silos, and even the idea for an indoor sky diving simulator. 

Construction on The Silos at Pier B is set to begin next week with an opening planned for May 2016.


We're interested in your thoughts regarding this development and would greatly appreciate if you would comment below.

Nine story hotel project back on the boards for Park Point

Remember a few years back when plans for a $22 million, nine story 90 room hotel project was proposed for a site at 1001 Minnesota Avenue on Park Point? It started quite a large controversy as it sailed through the city offices but then received an uprising from area residents when they gained knowledge of what was planned for their neighborhood. Well, that project is back... and it's still nine stories.

Side Elevations | Duluth Planning Comission

We can remember when the fight for this project began and our development hearts were quivering with excitement with the thought of arguably the first high rise coming to Park Point. However, the last news about the project occurred in June 2013 when it was stated that the project was no longer planned to the development being forced to build in a smaller site and the fact that a variance for the height of the structure would need to be sought out. Developer Joel Johnson of the Lakehead Boat Basin said that even with those set backs that the  the project would still be built in the future and that it was only a matter of time.

The future is now, the project is back, and it appears it hasn't changed that much since 2013. The project designed by SRA Architects includes a nine story tower that features a modern design with large glass windows as the focal piece. What has changed is the fact that it now has an official name. Drum roll please. It will be called Park Pointe Inn at The Lakehead Basin. 

The developers will go before the city planning commission on March 10th seeking out a height variance for the project at 1001 Minnesota Avenue. At that meeting we will see the specifics of what this project will exactly include. We'll also see if opinions and mindsets regarding the project have changed since 2012/13. 

As always check back to CDINDULUTH for more information regarding this project and many more in the Twin Ports. 

 

Our View

Back in 2013 when the project was originally set to begin constructed it received quite a bit of opposition from neighbors and Mayor Don Ness. Many at the time were saying that the project was going to stick out "like a sore thumb." We agree. Change is difficult.

However here's were we think differently. Yes, the project is nine stories and will be the only thing of substantial height on Park Point. But at the same time there are always sore thumbs when it comes to a city. Sore thumbs in the building world are what start the growth of a specific area. Plus let's be honest here. We should be looking at the positives of this project as there are many.

First off, the hotel is situated as close to the Canal Park side of Park Point as possible. It would be a different story if the hotel were to be built midway down the sand bar near the middle of Park Point where it truly would stand out like "a sore thumb" and the idea of future development surrounding the site would be questionable. We must keep in mind that Duluth is on a path of growth for the future and that projects like these will become increasingly common as the city grows.

On that note, let's set a good precedent for future projects and let's identify a logical area for this growth to occur. Park Point is only set to further grow within the future. It wouldn't be a surprise to us if we see additional larger structures proposed for the area including residential projects that could come in great numbers. After all, we've heard some say Duluth is poised to become the "Miami of the north."

Lastly, the views from these hotel rooms would be absolutely stunning. Can you imagine the views on all sides of this project? There wouldn't be a bad room in the entire place. Not only would this be a great asset to Park Point but it really would drive business to Park Point and help support future business growth by local residents and national business' a like.

We'd love to see some of your thoughts and comments below.

Staybridge Suites planned for Central Entrance

 

Staybridge Suites is looking to enter the Duluth market with a hotel being developed on the corner of Central Entrance and Blackman Avenue. Northridge Construction Inc will go before the Duluth Planning Commission tonight with plans for the 98 room, four story extended stay hotel.

We reported on the project a month ago when plans for a hotel were originally set to go before the planning commission. However, developers requested that the presentation be pushed back a month. At that time we were thinking that the hotel could be one of three concepts, Staybridge Suites being a contender.

If you're unfamiliar with Staybridge Suites itself you're probably more familiar with their parent company InterContinental Hotels Group as they are responsible for many hotel chains across the world including Holiday Inn and Suites. That hotel chain is also expanding with a Holiday Inn Express in Hermantown starting construction in March. 

Here's what you should know about Staybridge Suites.

It's that not every day that a city just gets one these great hotels. They're a pretty big deal and pretty special. The hotel chain is currently expanding with 88 hotels in development (Duluth being one of those). Now these hotels are designed for extended stays meaning they offer rooms with kitchens, living rooms, and overall just a larger square footage. They are just beautiful, modern rooms. Should we say it again?

The hotel planned for Central Entrance would feature 98 rooms, an indoor pool and hot tub and a also a commons area. Staybridge Suites typically does provide a delicious breakfast option too within that commons area. 100 parking spots would be provided on site with access Clearwater Road. However, some area residents who would like to see the addition of a controlled intersection that would also address the traffic concern of turning onto Central Entrance from Blackman Avenue which is expected to worsen with the added hotel traffic. 

Developers will meet with the Planning Commission tonight where all is expected to go smoothly as the land is already zoned for commercial development. 

As always, check back here at CDINDULUTH  regarding news and updates for this project and many more within the Twin Ports. 


Our View

We're quite excited that Staybridge Suites has decided to make Duluth their newest home as we have wished for this particular hotel chain to enter the market for many years now. Here's why.

DSCN4871.JPG

First off the city of Duluth needs more extended stay hotel concepts as currently the city only has one (Residence Inn and Suites). Adding more choices for an extended stay will encourage more growth for the city in the business sector and provide lodging options for young professionals and those who are simply in between homes.

Second, Staybridge Suites hotels are beautiful both inside and out. The construction of the hotel really is going to make a huge impact on a corner and site that has remained undeveloped for quite sometime now even though it lies on one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the city of Duluth.

Third, the hotel will promote significant growth along Central Entrance. Sites nearest to the hotel are most likely to be redeveloped quite quickly as hotel patrons often attract restaurants and other amenity retail options. This hotel development, along with the Central High School site redevelopment really are poised to create a development boom in an area that drastically needs a refreshment. 

Lastly, two words. Grandma's Marathon. More hotel rooms are never a bad idea when it comes to that time of the year.

Hampton Inn and Suites proposed for Superior

ProposedHamptonInnandSuitesSite_CDINDULUTH

Duluth might not be the only place where Hampton Inn and Suites calls home in the Twin Ports later this year. A new hotel with the hospitality chains name is being proposed by ZMC Hotels for a site in Superior. The hotel would be owned and operated by ZMC Hotels. 

Hampton Inn and Suites was founded in 1984 and is managed by Hilton Worldwide. The company currently has over 1,800 locations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Latin America. There are 20 locations in Wisconsin and 16 locations in Minnesota (including Duluth's very own in Canal Park), with a 17th on the way in Hibbing. The Hampton Inn and Suites being developed in Hibbing will also be owned and managed by ZMC Hotels. 

You might be thinking to yourself that you feel like you've already heard of a Hampton Inn and Suites being proposed in the area recently... Well yes, you're right. You've actually got a really good memory that you should be quite proud of if you do remember that! A few years ago a Hampton Inn and Suites was proposed for a site off Joshua Avenue behind the Stone Ridge Shopping Center in Duluth. Due to neighborhood opposition the plans for that hotel project were eventually tabled. It was also to be development and managed by ZMC Hotels. Part of us believes that due to that hotel not proceeding further, it caused ZMC to look elsewhere in the area for the brand to be represented. There still are rumors swirling that a Hampton Inn and Suites could pop-up somewhere in the Miller Hill Mall area.

The proposed Hampton Inn and Suites in Superior would be located on a 1.5 acre site between Perkins Restaurant and the Richard I. Bong Veterans Center. Part of the development of the project would require a city park to be moved down the block in order to make way for parking.

If all goes according to plan, construction could begin by the end of this summer with an opening targeted for early summer 2015. 

 Proposed Hampton Inn and Suites. Image provided by ZMC Hotels.

Proposed Hampton Inn and Suites. Image provided by ZMC Hotels.

LA QUINTA INN AND SUITES proposed for Maple Grove Road site

A 2.5 acre site that has sat vacant for the last decade may see new life soon now that plans for a new 3 story, 98 room hotel have surfaced. The site located at 1805 Maple Grove Road in Duluth currently has only one structure on site, a vacant church, that will be demolished in order to make way for the new hotel structure. If you still can't pin point the site, it's located across the road from the former Pearle Vision and next to the former Tile Shop space (as you can tell retail has been struck hard in this area).

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 1.54.01 PM

So who will call the site home? La Quinta Inn and Suites is a brand that was founded in 1968 and is based out of Irving, Texas and currently has over 700 locations across the country and employs over 9,000 workers. The brand was typically found most in the southern and western portions of the U.S. until recently when their expansion plans began to ramp up. Currently there are three locations within Minnesota, Duluth would be the company's fourth.

What makes Duluth's location unique is that the company is choosing to introduce a few design alterations to it's typical hotel facade. Some may argue that it's even reminiscent of the "northwoods." The traditional southwestern "tower" that is found in the design of most of the company's hotels has been significantly lowered in order to comply with the city of Duluth's ordinances, while stone facades have introduced as new elements.

We think this is great news as far as development goes! It will add some life to the Maple Grove Road retail sector that many thought may die off once the intersection with Miller Trunk Highway was cut off. The site has been vacant for many years and this seems to be the perfect project to jump start some other developments on the area. With people staying on the section of roadway, it may intern attract restaurants and possibly even an additional hotel (there is 4 acre vacant site down the roadway a bit) that could even further spur development. This also is welcome news to the area after last year plans for a new Hampton Inn and Suites hotel behind the  Stone Ridge Shopping Center were scraped due to neighborhood resident concerns about the project.

If approved, construction could begin as soon as March.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 1.50.17 PM
Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 1.50.01 PM