Before Solem Hotel purchase moves forward, Cloquet Council adds contingency

The Cloquet City Council approved a resolution to add a contingency to have a structural inspection included in any purchase agreement between the city and the property owners of 915 Cloquet Ave.

Cloquet City Hall Winter.jpg
Cloquet City Hall (Jamey Malcomb / 2021 file / Pine Journal)

CLOQUET – After a public hearing, the Cloquet City Council approved a resolution to add the contingency of a structural inspection before any purchase agreement for the Solem Hotel property at 915 Cloquet Ave. moves forward.

The Cloquet City Council voted to keep wards in the city the same after examining 2020 census data.

Holly Hansen, community development director for the city, presented information to the council on the background of the project during its meeting Tuesday, March 15.

Hansen said the project is an attempt to resolve blighted conditions and attract responsible development at the site, which was formerly the home of Pedro's Grill and Cantina.

The acquisition would be through the Cloquet Economic Development Authority, and should the city not be able to purchase the property through a good faith effort, it would acquire the site through condemnation.

At a council meeting in December, Hansen told the council the property was declared vacant and hazardous.


City officials have received an offer from the property owner, but before a counter offer can be made, Hansen said the council needed to pass a resolution to add a contingency to the offer.

"This request would protect the city," she said. "So we are not paying for something that could potentially have issues."

Should the city purchase or acquire the property, Hansen said the next step would be to look for a developer.

Despite no public comment from those in attendance, an email was submitted to the city by David Guckenberg, who said he was the grandson of the Solems and would like to see the city acquire the building.

"I would like to encourage the redevelopment of the Solem building, it is at a key location in downtown Cloquet," he said.

Hansen told the council that with the passage of the resolution negotiations for the property could resume as early as the next day.

In other business the council approved a bid on a reduced conflict intersection at Highway 33 and Gillette Road.

The total cost of the project is $1.2 million, however after securing grants and funding from the state, the city is budgeted to spend $285,000 in sales tax funding.


City administrator Tim Peterson commended the work of city staff for securing grants from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

"This is a pretty good deal for the city," he said.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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