Changes made to upcoming waterfront resort: Silos at Pier B

By KBJR News 1

March 26, 2014 Updated Mar 26, 2014 at 8:55 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The old Lafarge Cement Plant near Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth will soon be turned into a waterfront resort called the Silos at Pier B.

On Wednesday, the Duluth Economic Development Authority granted developers an extension on the project until June 30, rather than March 31. This is the fifth extension from DEDA developers have received.

Developers say it took longer than expected to secure financing for the new hotel.

The new "Pier B" resort will have a 140 room hotel, that includes an event center, and restaurant.

The design also calls for a public waterfront area.

Part of the plan is to make the slip more shallow using dredging materials.

The slip will connect the rest of Bayfront Park to the Lakewalk.

"That's one of the benefits of this project, we'll be stabilizing and putting a slip back into use that has not been productive and is severely deteriorated up to this point," said Sandy Hoff, co-developer of the project.

DEDA also approved a licensing agreement with developers to use Lot C while they do environmental and geotechnical testing of the land and dredging materials. Lot C sits right next to Pier B on the waterfront.

The total project originally was projected to cost up to $34 million, but due to a newer plan to scale back from nine stories to a four story hotel, the price tag dropped to $29 million.

Project developers say the change spreads the original plan out wider and results in a more functional design.

Those involved with the project are confident residents and tourists will be attracted to the area because it's on the waterfront in the popular Canal Park area.

"Canal Park, the downtown waterfront has become a major destination in the Midwest, and this will be the first property that actually is located right on the water with dockage and a restaurant literally 25 feet from the water," said Hoff. "It's going to be really a fun edition to our hospitality attraction now that we've done so well in Canal Park."

Hoff says developers are working with the DNR and project engineers to make the slip near the site shallower so they can freeze the area in the winter to create a large outdoor skating rink.

The project will be funded with private financing.

Developers say the hotel will also have transient docking so people can boat in from around the harbor and enjoy a meal.

There is a one year time frame for construction. Developers hope to be in the ground by this summer, and open by mid to late 2015.

Elsa Robins