Rhonda Silence

EDA working with businesses lost to fire on redevelopment plan

At the end of October, the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) made an announcement that it is seeking development help for the businesses impacted by the devastating fire in downtown Grand Marais on April 13, 2020. The EDA is looking for an individual or a company that can work with the five different entities involved in rebuilding this important part of downtown Grand Marais.

The EDA has been meeting with the affected business owners for months. Involved are the businesses lost to fire–Picnic and Pine, The Crooked Spoon Cafe and White Pine North. Also involved are the actual owners–Tim and Beth Kennedy, who as Gunflint Realty owned the Picnic and Pine building, and Jim and Jackie Larsen who are the owners of the White Pine building.
Also taking part in the discussion is Jim Joynes, owner of the parking lot to the west of the now-open lots. That parking lot is listed for sale.

The group, with EDA President Howard Hedstrom facilitating, has had some interesting discussion. There are still a lot of unknowns for the property and business owners, but Hedstrom stressed that at this time, none of the lots in question are for sale.

Joining the discussion has been local designer Richard Olson of Hovland and Larry Boen of Grand Marais. They have pitched in, offering advice and drawings about what the rebuilt businesses could look like. The city’s engineer, Mike Fisher of LHB, has also given input.
Components under consideration are a restaurant, wine bar, food truck, food hall, event space, and retail, with condominium-style vacation rentals above.

Whatever the end result, there is consensus that the project should reflect and respect community history, character, and sense of place. It is also hoped that whatever is rebuilt serves residents and visitors to Grand Marais.

With all those parties involved, EDA President Howard Hedstrom said it is time to seek a development partner who could pull all these ideas together, which was the intent of the EDA’s invitation to potential developer and investor partners.

Those who want to learn more are asked to contact EDA Board President Hedstrom by email at hjh@boreal.org or by phone at 218-370-0319.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with EDA President Hedstrom about these concepts and about the EDA’s role in this business planning.