Developers plan waterfront hotel, restaurant complex

A new high-end hotel, restaurant, spa and banquet facility, complete with boat slips, could be sprouting on Duluth's waterfront in the next year or so.

The Duluth Economic Development Authority agreed Wednesday to sell about 3 acres it owns near Bayfront Park to a group of private investors who already own adjacent space.

The group, Pier B Holdings, is planning the $29.1 million, 7.4-acre development to include a 140-room hotel and restaurant seating for 150, said Heidi Timm-Bijold, manager of business resources for the authority.

About $5.4 million of the project's costs would come from the public sector, including state grants and tax increment financing, she said.

The project is expected to go before the Duluth City Council on June 23. If approved, construction could begin in August and be done by the end of 2015.

Pam Louwagie • @pamlouwagie


Search is on for pilot after plane crashes into Superior

Authorities located a pilot's log book and jet fuel in a debris field in Lake Superior on Saturday after reports that a single-engine plane had gone down.

The items were among the debris found in an area about 250 yards in length about a mile offshore from Duluth's Brighton Beach, according to the Coast Guard.

The control tower at Duluth International Airport reported at 11:30 a.m. that a plane had gone missing. The Coast Guard said it received a report from the tower of "a single-engine white and maroon airplane spiraling down with a loss of communications approximately 7 nautical miles east of Duluth." The plane reportedly had a single occupant, whose identity has not yet been released.

The Duluth police and fire departments, the Coast Guard and the St. Louis County Rescue Squad responded to the vicinity of Brighton Beach and were searching the lake amid fog on Saturday.

associated press


Council tables talk of back-yard chickens

Austin residents who want to raise back-yard chickens avoided an official "no" but got a "not yet."

At a work session Monday, the City Council voted 4-3 to table talk of an ordinance that would permit residents to raise chickens.

Chickens are not currently allowed within city limits. But after getting requests from residents, cities across the state have considered allowing back yard hens. Following a two-year battle, Farmington passed an ordinance in 2013 allowing chickens. So far, the city has approved five permits and gotten no complaints, the council agenda says.

Austin's push came from Brittany Perry, 25, who wants to raise hens out of love for "animals, nature and sustainability."

"I think it would really fun and great for my son," she said Friday. "So I asked the city if it was legal and was surprised to find out that it wasn't."

Perry is "optimistic" about the council's decision and, in the coming weeks, will build a stronger case with more specifics. She'd like an ordinance to allow a family three to six hens. No roosters, she said, because they "make a ton of noise and are not needed."



Body of Winona man, 88, found in Mississippi River

Emergency crews on Saturday recovered the body of an 88-year-old Winona man from the Mississippi River backwaters near Prairie Island. Robert Lester Duncanson apparently drowned after his canoe tipped over as he fished from it, authorities said.

Just before 3 p.m. Saturday, Duncanson's body was found about 50 feet from where his canoe tipped. Crews using long poles with hooks at the end to drag the bottom of the river were able to hook onto his clothing.

Winona area emergency crews were called to Prairie Island on Friday morning after a group of men saw Duncanson struggling in the water. The men rushed out to him in a boat, but by the time they got there all that could be found were floating oars — and later, a floating life jacket.