If you’re unfamiliar with what the Clyde Iron site in the West End and what it has become… well, you must have been completely left out of the media loophole in Duluth for the last few years. What use to be a bustling heavy machinery factory in the early 1900’s has now become home to Duluth’s newest sports complex, event center, and restaurant. The site now includes the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, which includes two 200 x 85 foot hockey rinks named the Sill Arena (1,300 ocp) and the Sietz Arena (800 ocp), concessions, conference rooms, and also the Duluth Boys and Girls Club. The Seitz arena not only is a hockey rink, but from April to mid-September it is transformed into a turf field to host a wide variety of summer sports and even has with a 200 meter track. Next to that Duluth Heritage Sports Center in the renovated and restored Clyde Iron Works building is the Clyde Iron Works Restaurant, Bar, and Event Center. The restaurant not only features delicious and freshly made food (the pizza and cheesy bread is to die for), but also 36,000 square feet of event space in what is called “The Machine Shop.” All types of events have been held at the Clyde Iron Works Event Center from weddings and galas, to meetings and concerts/shows, including concerts by Trampled By Turtles, Jack’s Mannequin, All Star Weekend, Brandi Carlile, Brett Michaels, Atmosphere, and even more great artists! Clyde Iron Works truly is becoming one of Duluth’s best gathering spots.
But the plans for the site aren’t done yet! In the works are still a full scale brewery, a marketplace that will feature all types of food including imported foods from around the world, a bakery, and even a hotel! Now I know many of you are probably asking yourself where in the world is there room for a hotel on that site? But if one were to look closely at the site the next time they drive by you’d notice it. In the middle of the parking lot there is a site that remains completely empty but is surrounded by parking space as it has always been intended to be the site of a hotel one day. The original plans for the hotel were for a smaller “boutique” style hotel of 3 to 4 stories to be built there. The room count would be anywhere between 50-90 rooms and the hotel would simply be called “Clyde Hotel.” The design of the hotel would remain strictly industrial and clad in metals and various brick types. Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve heard more about this project, but it has been confirmed that plans are still in the works for a hotel and that if anything those plans have really been put into focus lately with the expected arrival this year of the Duluth Children’s Museum near by. The other thing that is up in the air about the hotel is whether it will be an independent or chain hotel. Plans for the site early on before it was purchased by a private developer was for the entire site to be razed and for a retail development featuring a few big box stores and some smaller inline retail to be built. After those plans fell through, Hilton actually began eyeing the site and were close to striking a deal to build a large, brand-new, Hilton hotel. However, obviously those plans never came to fruition. What is known though is that Hilton is still keeping a close eye on the area around the site because they are extremely interested in building a hotel in the area due to the large numbers of non-Duluthians that frequent the site. So that means that the hotel site still could possibly become a Hilton (if it were a expanded a little).
So what can be said about the future of Clyde Iron Works? Expect a lot of great things to happen in the restaurant and events center, including more concerts with bigger shows and artists. Look for a fresh marketplace, bakery, and brewery to pop up in the next couple of years and even a hotel! Plus, make sure to keep your eye on the area surrounding the Clyde Iron Works site. It’s bound to drastically change soon with the proven success of the site.