Old City Hall pub will take time

Plans to create a restaurant/pub in Duluth’s Old City Hall are moving forward.

Albeit slowly.

But that happens with adapting an historic building to new uses and doing it right. There’s countless details, lots of hoops to jump through and plans to get OK’d by various commissions and the city.

I first told readers in May that owners Rod Raymond and Tim Nelson planned to renovate and open a new restaurant in the 1888 building at 132 E. Superior St. that they have been refurbishing and leasing for office, dance and gym and other use. Aptly called Tycoons, the new restaurant will embrace the building’s history with a fun city founders theme.

At the last city Heritage Preservation Commission meeting, Raymond got the green light for their plans for the Michigan Street level entry that will fit in nicely with the building’s architecture.

Commission Chair Penny Clark praised the Old City Hall team for following the rules for historic preservation and the commission’s direction…  unlike some government entities, suggested Clark.

(The latest culprit: The city of Duluth itself for planning to replace windows of new City Hall, built in 1928 and an official local landmark, with historically incorrect crank-out windows).

But back to Old City Hall which was designed by Oliver G. Traphagen. Since it’s in an historic district, there’s plenty of other hoops for its owners to jump through before a restaurant can open in the building.

Next up is getting a building permit for the interior remodel. Raymond says it might be six months to a year before the restaurant is ready to open on the first floor. But it sounds like it’ll be worth the wait.

Raymond and Nelson own the Fitger’s Brewhouse, Red Star Lounge and the Burrito Union in Duluth. They also purchased the old Carlson bookstore building at 206 E. Superior St. They’re still tossing around ideas for its use, but see it used for music, theater and the arts in some way. But that project is on hold for now, while they focus on the new restaurant in Old City Hall.