Depot Keeps Current Management Company
DULUTH - After almost two hours of deliberation, St. Louis County commissioners voted to keep the Depot’s current management company Oneida Realty.
"All of those in favor of the resolution as it stands before us say I,” St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson said. "Oppose same sign.”
“No," St. Louis County Commissioner Frank Jewell said.
"I think it's good news,” Ken Buehler, Executive Director of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and of the Historic Depot Corporation, said. "I think with our proposal through Oneida group will do an excellent job."
Commissioners say they decided to keep Oneida as the management company, given their eight year track record with the Depot.
"This group has eight years of taking something from absolute bankruptcy to where it is on very solid ground, it’s paying its bills," St. Louis County Commissioner Peg Sweeney said.
The commissioners weighed management proposals from Oneida and Duluth-based property management company AtWater Group, whose vision included bringing in new life.
"With some retail, some dining, some other options and a lot more activity," Rob Karwath with AtWater Group said.
Commissioner Frank Jewell was the lone ranger in seeing AtWater’s vision.
Even though Oneida will stay as the management company and Ken Buehler will continue to be the executive director, other changes will be made.
"We still will continue to promote events, do advertising,” said Buehler. "Handle the softer side of the building if you will.”
A community based advisory committee will also be developed.
Locals from St. Louis County and Duluth will team up with Oneida to make suggestions and recommendations for the Depot.
"That's gonna be important because those people are gonna come up with ideas,” said Buehler. "They're gonna go have you thought about this, have you thought about that?"
Officials say they are not only looking to the new changes, but also for this year’s tourism season.
"There’s gonna be soo much to see and do at the Depot,” said Buehler. "We're seeing from the interest in pre-bookings that it’s gonna be a very good summer."
The decision to look into another management company came after a study revealed the depot had areas in need of improvement.