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Pierre may lose his lot; sale pending

With a sale pending on the lot where he stands, Pierre the Voyageur may have to be moved by the spring. A developer plan to take sealed bids on the iconic statue that has stood in the same spot for 50 years and remains a Two Harbors tourist attraction despite losing the museum and gift shop he once fronted. The office building on the right would also need to be moved to make room for a national retail chain. News-Chronicle

Pierre the Voyaguer is close to being evicted. The iconic plaster statue off Seventh Avenue in Two Harbors will need a local benefactor if a deal is sealed this month to sell the lot he sits on.

Duluth developer Mike Polcaro said there is a lot of paperwork to go through but he is close to a sale of the property to a "national" retail chain. He said he could not elaborate on who might be buying the property. "It's a good thing for Two Harbors," he said. It is not a restaurant or a bar, he added.

It means the end of the line for the statue that has stood there for more than 50 years to attract people to a former museum and gift shop. Polcaro said he is taking sealed bids from local people only to buy Pierre and move him. "They cannot utilize him on the property," Polcaro said of the potential new business. The same goes for the small office building on the site.

Polcaro's Prime Properties had a plan fall through in 2003 for a mini-mall at the site that included Pierre. The plaza idea ran into parking space issues. The museum building had been razed and the lot space was leased for a short time as a car dealership.

This summer, Polcaro said the property was in the hands of a real estate firm as a new new "For Sale" sign went up.

"We want to keep him, restore him," Polcaro said in July of the lonely Pierre statue. He said it had always been his wish to keep Pierre on the property and build an attraction around him.

The forced move will re-ignite talk of where Pierre might go. Some have said he would fit at a possible new information center farther west on Highway 61, near the Culver's restaurant. Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce President Gordy Anderson said there hasn't been much official conversation about Pierre . "It would be shame to have him go away."

Polcaro said several local businesses have expressed interest in Pierre. He will likely be at his current location until the spring.

Anderson said the first discussion should be on whether the statue can be moved at all without destroying it. This summer, Polcaro said "I don't think it's the wise thing to do," citing tradition more than logistics.

Gigi Aae, who owns the Voyaguer Motel next door to the lot, has been hoping something could be done with what has become a rather "scruffy" icon. "I don't like him leaving," she said, "but it's as long as he's taken care of it's a good thing."

More changes on Seventh

The former Milk House convenience store in Two Harbors is being converted into a sports bar that could be open by spring. Mark Pearson, son of longtime Two Harbors businessman Delray Pearson, is teaming up with former Minnesota Vikings star Jim Marshall to create Viking Legends Sports Bar & Grill.

Pearson confirmed the venture last week and applied for a certificate of assumed name of the business this week as the chief manager of Pearson Group. He expects to have more information soon on plans for the space after consulting more with Marshall.

Moving cars

The Sonju's auto dealership is moving operations on Seventh Avenue in Two Harbors west to the expressway and the Two Harbors Ford location this fall and expects to be fully in the space by the end of the year. A sign and other marquees marked the change the past few weeks. We will have more on the move next week.