Scott Kramer is selling the Dearing Mansion, the historic West Side home he meticulously restored and ran as a bed-and-breakfast.
After occasionally running afoul of St. Paul regulators before winning a victory in June at the City Council, Kramer said he’s decided to move on to something new.
His listing price: $850,000.
“I’m hopeful that someone who appreciates the history of the home, the value of the home to the community, will buy it. I’m not interested in selling it to anyone to turn it into condos,” Kramer said. “It’s bittersweet, because I really do enjoy sharing the house with people.”
It was the sharing part that got Kramer into hot water with city inspectors.
While he holds a conditional-use permit to run the mansion as a bed-and-breakfast in a residential neighborhood, the conditions on that permit prohibited Kramer from using the home as a reception hall or advertising it for events, like weddings and parties.
In May, the St. Paul Planning Commission voted to revoke his permit after it found out that a massive murder-themed New Year’s Eve Party, for which Kramer had charged admission, violated those conditions.
Kramer bought the home more than a decade ago for $450,000 and spent another $300,000 returning it to its former luster, including restoring its nine fireplaces and intricate wood trim and moldings.
He turned the home into a B&B after his divorce to offset restoration costs but immediately ran afoul of inspectors after a neighbor complained that Kramer was hosting weddings and receptions.
Kramer said he stopped hosting events more than a year ago. Though the City Council voted this summer to let him keep his permit for the bed-and-breakfast business, he said that he’s never been able to overcome the loss of tens of thousands in event income.
The conditional-use permit will go with the house to a new owner, Kramer said, if they wish to continue as a bed-and-breakfast.
“It’s the perfect house for it,” Kramer said of parties and events. “But it’s not possible in this neighborhood. It’s a lot of house for just one person.”
St. Paul historian Jim Sazevich credits Kramer with returning the 1886 mansion, built by well-to-do St. Paul dairy farmer Sam Dearing, to its gilded glory. At one time, Sazevich said, the house had been divided into seven apartments and fallen into disrepair.
“He was the perfect homeowner for that place,” Sazevich said. “He was so hands-on. And he cared enough to do it right.”