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Youngquist said he is sympathetic but that the city needs to address parking now that the historic school will be used.
“I can understand the [feelings of] neighbors abutting the property,” Youngquist said. “They want to see the sunset. They don’t want to be blocked from the sun or looking at a brick wall. We will work through that. They have to understand there will be changes. There has to be room for 250 cars. We will hide them the best we can.”
City Housing Manager Darin Berger is overseeing the sale process for 210 Monroe, giving tours to prospective buyers. Berger said he’s had two so far, but no bids. The home is structurally sound, but both the exterior and interior have undergone significant changes over the years, Berger said.
Inside, it’s cut into four dated, cramped apartments. He points out the drop-panel ceilings, wooden paneling, linoleum and 1970s-era light fixtures. There don’t seem to be many original features intact, Berger said.
Almost half the square footage is from later additions tacked onto the rear of the home, he said. Even the home’s original stairway seems to have been altered.
Given the home’s deteriorated state, Berger said the HRA felt confident essentially giving the home away.
“They felt the person who saw the potential in this home would need funds to make it happen. They felt the dollar price tag was an incentive that would bring the right buyers who would pull the full potential from the project,” Berger said. “It has great potential for the right buyer.”
Berger said that he has researched the home’s history. It was built in the 1880s. One of its first owners was Louis Ingebretson. Lucille Lane owned the home longer than anyone. She, and then her family trust, owned the home from 1960 to 2012.
There isn’t any significant history attached to the home, Berger said. That’s another reason the HRA wasn’t compelled to pay to move it. Still, members of the HRA struggled with the decision.
“Originally I was in favor of the HRA moving the property and then selling it,” HRA member Patrick Walker said. “It’s an interesting house. I am not a big history buff. Anoka has a lot of historical properties and [residents] are pretty emotional when it’s time to take one down.”
Walker said he doesn’t have a lot of confidence it will sell for $1. Before the HRA bought the home in 2012, it had been on the market for over a year.
Still, he’s hopeful the right buyer will move and transform the home.
“I think it could be restored but it’s better if the private market does it,” Walker said.
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804