Lawsuit filed over demolition of historic Minneapolis home at 2320 Colfax

MinnPost photo by Karen Boros
The Healy house at 2320 Colfax in Minneapolis.

A lawsuit to prevent the demolition of a T.P. Healy house at 24th and Colfax in Minneapolis was filed Wednesday against property owner Mike Crow.

The Minneapolis City Council voted last week to allow demolition of the building, constructed in 1893 by master builder Theron Potter Healy, to make way for a four story 45-unit apartment building.

The lawsuit was filed by The Healy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Healy’s legacy. (Here’s the complaint and one memorandum.)  In an announcement (below), the organization claims they will establish that the house is an historic resource, and that there are viable options to demolition. 

In 1893, Healy built four houses. The building near 24th and Hennepin is the only one still standing. It is currently being used as a 15-unit rooming house. The house is designated as an historic resource by the Historic Preservation Commission but has not been upgraded to historical designation as a landmark.

At a hearing on the demolition application, city staff testified that the house interior lost integrity following a 1980s fire and extensive remodeling.

There are currently more than 100 Healy houses in Minneapolis, many with historical designation.

Here’s the announcement:

The Healy Project has filed suit against the owner in District Court to prevent the demolition of the Orth House, 2320 Colfax Avenue South, in Minneapolis. The lawsuit  will establish that the property is a historic resource and that the property will be  preserved for the benefit of future generations of Minnesotans. Moreover, the lawsuit will establish that there are viable options to demolition for this property.

Last year the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission declared the Orth House an historic resource, exemplifying the work of a master builder and architect, Theron Potter Healy. As noted in a 1981 Twin Cities magazine article (“Legacy of a Master Builder: Theron Healy’s Dream of Minneapolis Lingers in his Queen Anne Architecture”), the house is the transitional design in Healy’s illustrious career. The Orth House is the only one of the four built by Healy in 1893 that is still standing. If left uncorrected, demolition of the Orth house represents an unacceptable and irreplaceable loss to the current and future residents of Minneapolis.

The Healy Project will present various options for redevelopment of the property, including adaptive reuse and integrating the house with new construction. We envision a Wedge streetscape that includes a mixture of old and new buildings of various styles, offering a variety of housing options affordable to all economic classes of residents and future city residents.

We look forward to partnering with the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association, the City, and city residents in building a sustainable city from our existing housing stock.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Christopher Robin Zimmerman on 05/01/2014 - 10:08 am.

    May I ask how you came by this announcement?

    I am curious because it wasn’t posted to the Healy Project’s website, which makes me wonder if it’s really The Healy Project behind this announcement…or just someone using their name. Was it emailed to you or is this a cut-n-paste of the Facebook post that’s going around?

    • Submitted by David Brauer on 05/01/2014 - 10:40 am.

      It’s legit

      Came from a news release sent to our reporter. I also called the press contact at the Healy Project who confirmed it. — David Brauer, news editor.

  2. Submitted by William Bornstein on 05/01/2014 - 10:40 am.

    More details needed

    Karen, the relevant details are missing from this article. Please obtain and read the complaint, and then report back on what specific cause of action Plaintiff(s) are asserting against Defendant(s) in this suit. Thanks!

  3. Submitted by Wayne Coppock on 05/02/2014 - 08:09 am.

    Can you please stop calling it “historic” in every headline? I’m pretty sure that being labeled a historic resource means it has the potential to be historic but no actual official historic designation has been bestowed upon it. It seems like there’s some obvious bias going on with the coverage here when you use headlines like this.

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