The Pikku Hotel, an early Lincoln Park revival project, is up for sale

The building at 1923 W. Superior St. was constructed in 1899 and houses the Pikku Hotel and Hemlock Leather works. (Photo:

A small, stylish boutique hotel that opened in a renovated historic building and helped transform Lincoln Park into a hip, hip neighborhood is now up for sale.

The three-suite Hotel Pikku, located on the second floor, 1923 W. Superior St., opened after owners Chelsy Whittington and Andy Matson bought the building in 2016 and spent more than a year remodeling it . Hemlock Leatherworks, a bespoke shoemaker, is located on the ground floor.

The 123-year-old, 3,750-square-foot property is listed for sale at $895,000.

Andy Matson and Chelsy Whittington opened Hotel Pikku in 2018.

Lincoln Park was at the start of a wave of urban renewal when Whittington and Matson purchased the fire-damaged property, storefront and apartment for $125,000. The building received new flooring, bathrooms, windows, a water heater, air conditioning and a large rear metal staircase as part of a major renovation. The nearby OMC Smokehouse, Duluth Folk School, and Duluth Pottery all opened in renovated old buildings around the same time.

In the space of five years, Lincoln Park has transformed from a struggling furniture store district filled with rundown buildings to a destination neighborhood featuring new breweries, art galleries, antique stores and restaurants. .

“I think all businesses are filled,” Whittington said. “Before, there were just a lot of empty storefronts and all that. It was exciting. Also, living nearby, it was great to have all these places I could walk to now.

The Pikku Hotel has been a hit with tourists. Rooms fill up most weekends, and guests respond with rave reviews on social media sites.

A room at Hotel Pikku overlooks Superior Street in Lincoln Park. (Photo:

“We’ve been as busy as we wanted out there,” Whittington said. “I feel really lucky to have been able to build something on this scale and in the conditions that I wanted. I’m the housekeeper. I do all the administrative work, that’s all me – which is kind of a type A – but it’s been really nice to have the people that we have there, we have so many return guests.

Whittington said she would turn her attention to Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen in Knife River, a candy store owned by the Matson family. “I’m going to do more with that,” she said. “And then, you know, we’re always planning new projects — it’s usually happy hour plans — but there might be other things along the way.”

“I love spending my time with the hotel but, you know, I’m not really that kind of person who works 30 years to get that gold watch. I want to grow and do new things,” he said. she stated.

Hotel Pikku (a Finnish word meaning small) will remain in operation as long as the building is for sale.

Hotel Pikku offers three suites on the second floor of a former Swedish bakery in Lincoln Park. (Photo:

Real estate agent Greg Follmer said the new building owners could continue to use the second floor as a boutique hotel, rent out the rooms as apartments or turn the space into personal living quarters. He said the street-level storefront offers great opportunities for new business now and in the future.

“Ultimately, I’m looking for a small business owner who would receive additional income from the hotel,” he said. “They might also want to run their building business and walk the line 15 years from now, and you look to the future and you have a really nice place. You have a nice retirement.

Follmer said Lincoln Park’s real estate market is hot right now. Well-located old buildings are hard to find and complicated and expensive to restore. The Pikku Hotel building is a finished product: “There are a lot of things that you don’t have to do or deal with that are already done,” he said. “They went super high quality with everything. They did some really nice unique design features in there. It’s a very cool space.

The announcement of the sale coincided with demolition work on the old Kemps Dairy Building, 1928 W. First St., just behind the Pikku Hotel. Whittington said she closed the hotel to bookings during the demolition work.

Buildings at the former Kemps dairy estate were demolished earlier this week. A new hotel or apartment project is planned on the site. (Photo: Paul Lundgren)

A cluster of one-story brick buildings, many dating back to the construction of the Twin Ports Dairy Co-op in 1938, were demolished with a backhoe and swept away during the first week of April .

Northridge Accomodations LLC announced plans to build a $15-25 million hotel or apartment project on the 1.2-acre site in January 2020. Kemps ended its dairy transformation in 2013. The companies of Lincoln Park and their customers have been using the property as a parking lot lately. years.

Laura J. Boyer