Seth and Sarah Maxim purchased the former 24-7 Fitness Center and and Tanning Salon on the corner of 53rd Avenue East and Superior Street in Lakeside with plans to open a brewpub this Summer, but a Duluth ordinance may have put a wrench in the plans.

The current ordinance requires any business that sells alcohol can not be closer then 400 feet from churches or a school. The distance is measured from the property line of the school or church to the front door of the establishment, here in lies the problem.

Spirit of the Lake Community School which used to be a church lies kitty corner from the former fitness center and the front door is too close to the school. The front door would need to be moved just a few feet but given the fact the building is brick the cost to move the front door would cost around $25,000. That is a huge expense for a business that is trying to get itself off the ground.

Duluth City Councilor Gary Anderson said:

They could reconfigure the building for the sake of honoring the 400-foot rule, but it would cost them a bunch of money and it really wouldn't have a very different effect on the neighborhood, if you will.

The board of directors at Spirit of the Lake Community School sent a letter to the city of Duluth saying they are in support of allowing the brewpub to open it's doors as is. But the current ordinance does not allow for any flexibility to the rule. Chelsea Helmer, Duluth's director of administrative services has proposed that the ordinance be changed to 300 feet for restaurants that also serve beer and liquor. The lakeside brewpub would fall into that category because they would be serving food and have a full menu.

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The Duluth City Council will be voting on the ordinance on Monday night, in the meantime the Maxims have been holding off on finalizing floor plans until they know if they will have to move the front door or not.  They are hoping to open in late Spring or Summer.

This was my old neighborhood for many years and to have a restaurant and pub in that spot would be awesome. I drove by that building for years wondering if they were even open, I never saw anybody go into it. The Maxims have tons of experience in the restaurant business so I am sure if they are given a chance to get their place off the ground it will be a huge success and great attribute to the area.

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