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TV Host Fights Demolition Of 1893 House

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
Edgar Linares moved to the Twin Cities 24 hours before the largest...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The future of a 120-year-old house in South Minneapolis will be decided on Friday by the Minneapolis City Council.

The home at 2320 Colfax Avenue south was built by master builder Theron Potter Healy in 1893. It’s now being used a 15-unit rooming house.

For some time, the owner of the home, Mike Crow, has been battling with the city to sell the house to a developer who plans to construct a four story 45-unit complex. Last week the city’s Zoning and Planning committee voted 5-to-1 to have the home torn down.

But for more than a year, TV host Nicole Curtis has been trying to save the historic property. Curtis is the host of “Rehab Addict” on the DIY network. She restores rundown and sometimes condemned homes in the Minneapolis and Detroit areas.

“We have more neighbors supporting this house to stay standing than this new complex,” Curtis said. “We have vacant lots that need development.”

Curtis resubmitted an offer of $400,000 to purchase the property this week. Curtis believes the developer, Lander Group, made a substantial offer of more than $900,000 in the past.

“If I was this developer, I think I’d make friendly with the neighbors and say, ‘You know what? I see this as a historic house, we’re going to move it,’” Curtis said.

On Wednesday, the city council debated on the home’s possible preservation. The home is located in councilmember Lisa Bender’s district.

“One could vote on the demolition simply based on the finding that this building does not meet the required standards of our historic preservation ordinance,” Bender said.

Bender said her staff found the home didn’t retain its integrity after three fires and significant modifications. She also added that many of her constituents are in favor of new construction.

“I’ve been hearing from a lot of my neighbors and they are not professional activists,” Bender said. “They don’t know they’re supposed to email every single council member in order to amplify their voice. They don’t have a TV show host drumming up support for their perspective.”

The discussion then turned to property rights and what authority the Minneapolis City Council has in telling a homeowner to accept a lower offer.

“This person (Mike Crow) could choose to restore it or they could choose to resell it to who they want to,” councilmember Cam Gordon said. “I do think there are still a lot rights that go with this property and the owner that we can’t justify stepping on.”

After Wednesday’s meeting, Curtis said this issue has become real emotional for her. After researching the Healy house, she found it’s structurally sound and there’s no reason it should come down. She also appealed to newly elected Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

“Betsy, you voted last year to save this house,” said Curtis. “Come on girl!”

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