Edgewater Resort and Waterpark taking down abandoned wing
A long-running and ever-changing Duluth hotel will tear down the oldest part of its sprawling complex as owners begin work on a new renovation plan for the Endion neighborhood tourist destination.
The Edgewater Resort and Waterpark, 2400 London Road, started demolition work this month on a vacant, two-story wing that was constructed in 1965 and served as the Edgewater Motel for decades. The Edgewater Resort and its adjacent waterpark will remain open during the project.
Edgewater owners said the demolition is part of a new hotel improvement project.
“Taking the building down is just the first step of a multistage plan,” said ZMC Hotels Vice President, Administration Anne Stratioti. “The next is renovation of rooms at the Edgewater (resort). What to do with the space where (the motel) was is later in that process.”
Stratioti said the motel property will be used for parking as management considers development plans.
The old motel structure has been vacant and unused since March 2020.
The Duluth Fire Department responded to a minor fire at the site on June 28, 2020. Fox21 reported the cause of the fire was a thermostat in an unoccupied room. Damages were estimated at $20,000.
Stratioti said demolition of the old motel will reduce the number of rooms at the Edgewater campus from 221 to 161. The company plans to begin renovation of existing rooms at the resort following motel demolition.
City of Duluth demolition permits value the structure at $320,000.
According to research at the Duluth Public Library, the Bellows family opened the 8-unit Edgewater Motel at 2330 London Road circa 1952. The motel had expanded to 40-units by 1957. The Duluth News Tribune reported owners planned to add 15 units, a swimming pool, a sauna and meeting room in 1963. The original motel was torn down in 1965 and replaced with the existing two-story structure.
The Bellows family announced plans to build a second hotel on the northside of London Road between 22nd and 23rd avenues east in 1965. After a lengthy city permitting process, the new property was opened as the Edgewater West Motel in 1969. The original location became the Edgewater East Motel.
The Edgewater West Motel is now operated as Days Inn by Wyndham Duluth Lakewalk.
Duluth Research Librarian Gina Temple-Rhodes said her parents spent their honeymoon at the Edgewater Motel in 1969.
“They were going to stay at the Holiday Inn in Canal Park,” she said. “But Canal Park was a little too rough for them back then. Edgewater was in a nicer part of town.”
The Edgewater expanded in 1990 when a five-level wing was added along with a recreation atrium, a new pool and other amenities. The 35,000-square-foot, 150,000-gallon-water park called “The Edge” opened in 2005.
Both the Edgewater and Days Inn are now owned by ZMC Hotels, a hospitality company established by Duluth’s Goldfine family. ZMC was sold in 2015 to California-based Hall Equities Group. ZMC manages 47 hotels across 17 states. Two other local ZMC properties are the Inn on Lake Superior in Duluth’s Canal Park and the Best Western Bridgeview Hotel in Superior.
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