Historic Minneapolis house attracts potential buyers

  • Article by: LIBBY NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2008 - 11:27 PM
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Preservationists are rallying to save the historic Bardwell-Ferrant house from vandals. The house, at 2500 Portland Av. S., is one of only a few local examples of Exotic Revival architecture.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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Thieves and vandals aren't the only ones interested in the vacant Bardwell-Ferrant house.

"There is interest in buying" the historic Victorian house at 2500 Portland Av. S., and a few showings are scheduled, said Robert Maresh, the house's listing agent with Automated Realty Inc.

The house, featured in an article in Thursday's Star Tribune, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few local examples of Exotic Revival architecture, featuring arches and copper onion-dome towers. Built in 1883, it underwent a $160,000 restoration in the 1980s and was converted into apartments.

But since a recent foreclosure by Countrywide Financial, thieves and vandals have broken into the house and damaged many of its historic features, including breaking original stained-glass windows and removing original mantelpieces entirely.

There has been some progress. By Thursday, the broken front doors were secured, said Connie Nompelis, a Realtor who began rallying preservationists to save the house after seeing the damage done to the inside.

Nompelis, who showed the house Thursday but is not the selling agent, said she's had calls and e-mails expressing hope that the house would be saved, but "didn't get the impression that anybody was actually looking to buy."

The house's location in a poorer part of town might turn off potential buyers; so might its price, $229,900, and the four apartments it contains.

One man asked if it was possible to relocate it.

The neighborhood has suffered with the times, said Bob Roscoe, a board member of Preserve Minneapolis and a former member of the Heritage Preservation Commission, on Wednesday.

"It was the crack epidemic that happened in the '70s and '80s," he said, "and now the crack of the 21st century is foreclosures."

Libby Nelson • 612-673-4758

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