After fierce opposition from Twin Cities home builders, an administrative law judge recently ruled that the Department of Labor and Industry has the power to require sprinklers in some new houses as part of an amended residential building code that’s expected to be adopted sometime next year. Here's a link to that ruling.
That ruling follows a year-long debate over the issue (I last wrote about the debate in May 2012), which would require home builders in most of the state to install automatic fire sprinklers in new single-family houses that exceed 4,500 square feet.
Builders have fought the rule because they say it is unnecessary and could add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home. Though the square footage requirement is limited to those houses with more than 4,500 square feet, the rule applies to all conditioned space, includes most lower levels and bonus rooms even if the space is unfinished.
Eric Lipman, the administrative law judge who issued the ruling, wrote that “...the proposed rules are needed and reasonable.” James Vagle, public policy director for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, said that the organization is considering its options. “We are continuing to seek ways to avoid imposing this unnecessary mandate on homeowners as this process continues he said.
The rule has received the support of fire officials who have argued that it will save lives and homes. The decision by the administrative law judge comes several weeks after a hearing to discuss the issue, which has been the subject of debate for several years. In both 2011 and 2012, the state legislature approved measures that would have forbidden the DLI from revising the state code to require installation of sprinkiers, but both measures were vetoed by Governor Dayton.
Here's part of Dayton's response: “I take very seriously the concerns which fire safety professionals have expressed about the safety of home residents, their properties and the lives of the men and women who courageously risk their lives to fight those fires.”
The measure could be implemented sometime later this year. Do you agree with Lipman's decision?
The $7 million house that Grammy Award-winning music producer, Jimmy Jam Harris, built on Lake Minnetonka was sold for $2.6 million to a anonymous couple during a live auction at the 22,000 square-foot house on Thursday afternoon. The winning bid, which is pending approval by the owner of the house, JP Morgan/Chase, is close to what real estate agents say the land alone is worth.
Those buyers were among 11 registered bidders, including some who believe the house will be torn down. The auction took place in front of a kitchen island overlooking Lake Minnetonka, and was over in just a couple minutes before attention shifted to a very shiny creme-colored Rolls Royce that was stuck in the driveway, requiring the assistance of listing agent, Scott Stabeck.
Christopher and Sandra Hintz bought the property from Harris on June 26 2007 for $7 million, but stopped making payments and the house went into foreclosure.
I'm working on a more complete story for the Friday paper, stay tuned.
- Jim Buchta
The Nic on Fifth, one of the biggest apartment buildings to hit the Minneapolis Central Business District in two decades, has opened a leasing office. The office is located in the skyway level of the Baker Center in downtown Minneapolis, and offers floor plans and updated information about residential availability. The 26-story luxury apartment building has 253 units, including 26 penthouses. Developed by The Opus Group of Minnetonka, the building features a 24/7 door attendant and concierge service, an outdoor roof terrace with pool and spa, a fitness center, yoga studio, outdoor fire pit and kitchen, guest suites, a pet play area and nine- to 10-foot ceilings. The building will be skyway connected, and is located along the light-rail line. The first residents will move into the Nic on Fifth this August. For more information, www.theniconfifth.com or call the leasing office at 612-284-9429.
Sen. John Pauly, who also owned a cigar company, built this house for his family in 1902 in the Homewood neighborhood in North Minneapolis. The house, which is at 1407 Fremont Avenue, isn't short on woodwork. It also has stained glass windows in most rooms, art glass doors on cabinets and built-ins. There's an original mural above the paneling in the dining room - you can see that in the picture above - and stenciling and pocket doors. There's even a bell locator in the kitchen that will tell the maid when someone in another part of the house needs more tea. Deb Wagner of Greenway Homes Realty, 612-226-1479, has the listing.
Three new apartment buildings helped boost the number of new units planned for the Twin Cities nearly 40 percent during January, according to the latest permit data from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).
During January builders were issued 358 permits to build 1,059 units, a 51-percent increase over last year and the best start to the year since the housing bust began.
Rental housing, including the second phase of Mill & Main Apartments just across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis and two buildings in Golden Valley and Eagan, represented 64 percent of all planned units. Most of the permits issued to build single-family houses were in Lakeville, Prior Lake and Woodbury.
Shawn Nelson, BATC's new president said while 2013 ended with more than 10,000 housing units permitted, that’s still well below the average new homes permitted in the Twin Cities throughout the 1990s. “A region our size should be able to support around 12,000 to 15,000 new homes just to keep up with household growth and replacement housing stock,” he said.
Here's a link to all the details.
After several years on the market, the storied 23,000 square-foot Pillsbury mansion on Blaisdell Avenue in south Minneapolis has a new owner. NuWay Inc, a non-profit that helps people overcome chemical dependency issues, paid $1.2 million for the building and plans to convert it back into housing. The Renaissance Revival mansion had been built in 1913 for John Pillsbury Snyder and his wife, Nelle, who a year earlier were aboard the Titanic when it sank on April 14, according to the AIA Guide to the Twin Cities. Both were rescued aboard life boat No. 7. In later years the house was been converted to commercial use in the early 1960’s and had been used most recently by Pinecrest Inc as a commercial office and showroom space. Built in 1913, the house had been on the market for more than two years and originally listed at $2.9 million. Mark Hulsey, managing broker of RE/MAX Results Commercial, received multiple offer on the property. “Blaisdell is a very unique property with multiple potential uses,” said Hulsey. “It was challenging to sell since the whole property required significant capital improvements for many explored uses.”