Lincoln Park Flats ownership group speaks out at city council meeting

Owners of Lincoln Park Flats break their silence at city council meeting
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:57 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 9:14 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. -- New drama over the Duluth apartment complex, set to be partially converted into a hotel.

Weeks ago, Lincoln Park Flat property owners informed residents there that the second floor will be renovated into “boutique hotel rooms.”

That means those residents would have to move floors, or find other housing, which sparked protests from the community.

Duluthians filled the council chambers Monday night, sharing their anger following actions of P&R Properties, the company that owns Lincoln Park Flats.

“Nobody has been willing to say the word,” said Jamie Sharp, a Duluth Resident who spoke at the city council meeting. “That word is not revitalization, it’s gentrification.”

After angry residents spoke, so did a representative of P&R Properties.

VP of Development, Dante Tomassoni, took the mic. He started by saying that after the COVID-19 pandemic, they were struggling financially.

“This was not a profit grab, this was not profiteering by any means, this was a survival choice,” said Tomassoni.

And most surprisingly, Tomassoni alleged the city knew about plans to convert the building into a hotel all along, despite the recent surprise and anger expressed by many city leaders, including the mayor.

“We have been working with the city for six months on this process,” said Tomassoni. “Councilors, whenever you say you are surprised, I apologies, but we have been working with the city for that long.”

The council quickly fired back.

“I will speak on behalf of the council when I say we were blindsided on this,” said Hannah Alstead, a Duluth City Councilor. “We found out about this when everyone else did.”

Alstead, along with the council said they support P&R Properties, but not this decision.

“They are a great company that provided many, hundreds of units throughout the Twin Ports, and that’s important to now,” said Alstead. “They are not here to not provide housing. In this situation, I don’t believe it needed to happen the way that it did.”

City councilors eventually showed their support to the residents of Lincoln Park Flats, voting to re-affirm their commitment to developing residential housing.

We reached out to city administration Monday, asking when they learned of the plans, we’ve not yet heard back.