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Duluth News Tribune (MN) - Friday, May 18, 2007


Duluth hotelier John Goldfine has inked a deal to buy the last piece of industrial land in Canal Park, but the deal won't be finalized soon.

Goldfine , president of ZMC Hotels, confirmed this week that he recently put down earnest money for the Duluth Spring property at 300 Canal Park Drive. The transaction will close when the company finds a new location, he said.

Owner Dave Tyacke said there are no plans for Duluth Spring to go out of business. He and his family are considering what steps to take when it moves. No future location has been identified. The relocation process could take a year or more, he said.

The company has annual sales of $1 million to $1.5 million and employs five people, Tyacke said.

"I think the time has come for the last smokestack to leave Canal Park," Tyacke said.

What's now called Canal Park for many years was an industrial waterfront area with bars, heavy manufacturing, warehouses and wholesalers, such as Marshall-Wells Hardware Co.

Michael Paulucci began to change the makeup of the area by buying the Sand Bar, gutting it and opening a new restaurant, Grandma's Saloon & Deli, in 1976. Other hospitality businesses followed.

In the past three decades, as Duluth's tourism industry has grown, Canal Park has been cleaned up and beautified. Today, it is the site of shops, hotels, restaurants and the Lakewalk. Visitors flock there, especially during the summer, and many people thought Duluth Spring looked out of place in that environment.

Goldfine said he doesn't know what he will do with the property where Duluth Spring has operated since 1960. The land is narrow - 62 feet wide with a 12-foot easement - and is not suitable for a large development.

Goldfine said he has thought about using it for parking for the Inn on Lake Superior, owned by ZMC Hotels, or perhaps a restaurant.

"We're open to any ideas," he said. "We're just trying to figure out what we can and can't do."

Duluth Spring makes 150- to 200-pound springs for agricultural tractors, liquid fertilizer vehicles and special trucks that move semi-trailers at seaports and airports.

For much of its history, the company made springs for mining trucks, but eventually the vehicles became too big for the products Duluth Spring manufactures. In recent years, the company's market has shrunk, Tyacke said.

Duluth Spring was founded by Tyacke's father, Bruce Tyacke, and uncle, Warren Tyacke, in 1948. The business occupied the building that now houses the Club Saratoga until 1960. That year, the Tyackes built the building Duluth Spring is in today.

The Tyacke family also owns Zenith Spring, 3116 W. Michigan St.











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