DEDA paves way to revitalize Seaway Hotel and Lincoln Park area

By KBJR News 1

February 26, 2014 Updated Feb 26, 2014 at 10:45 PM CDT

Duluth, Minn. (NNCNOW.com) -- The Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) made a move Wednesday night to help fund the redevelopment of the Seaway hotel and the Lincoln Park area.

DEDA passed a resolution authorizing a loan agreement with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) in the amount of $230,000 related to the project.

The resolution passed five to one with commissioner Jay Fosle opposed.

The funding for the acquisition comes from tax dollars generated from the old Washington school building, which is now Washington Art Studios.

When the Washington building was remodeled a tax increment housing district was created. Now, occupants and owners of the building pay taxes toward the district.

Those tax dollars went into a fund to help DEDA pay for housing projects such as the Seaway hotel redevelopment.

The city asked HRA to take over the building as part of a larger plan to revitalize the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Officials say having a professional management group take over the building may solve some of the issues related to crime and lack of economic development in the area.

HRA hopes to renovate the building and create commercial space to help attract businesses to the area.

Rick Ball, executive director of HRA says the agency is willing to step in; but they hope it will be for the short term.

"I think we have some very good partners in this," said Ball. "We expect to engage Center City Housing as an asset manager in this, and along with them engaging a professional property manager. We have been talking with D.W. Jones who has been providing similar kinds of services in similar kinds of facilities."

HRA is also looking to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund to help pay for building improvements and operations.

Tenants say they are behind the city and HRA's efforts to try to revitalize the area.

Some changes HRA hopes to make include renovating some of the rooms, making the proper code upgrades, and changing the name of the Seaway.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.