Craigslist shoppers looking for lamps, bicycles or other secondhand goods came across an unusual find this week: half a city block for sale in Minneapolis for $5 million.
The six-parcel property on the 1500 block of Nicollet Avenue S. is a pretty good deal if you take the 11-exclamation-point ad at its word. “Terms are CASH! This block is within spitting distance of the Convention Center!”
The unique marketing approach left one Twin Cities real estate expert scratching her head.
“It’s crazy. I can tell you that the kind of people that have the money to buy a property like that aren’t looking on Craigslist,” said Andrea Christenson, vice president of the Cassidy Turley real estate firm.
The property is within blocks of the Convention Center, and the ad notes that there are preliminary plans for developing the area nearby with hotels to attract events to Minneapolis.
Despite the unconventional pitch, the land has been for sale for some time and has potential. “I like that site; I think that neighborhood is really going to come into its own,” said Christenson, who said there are several new apartment buildings near the site.
They include a 36-story glass and metal luxury apartment building called LPM on Spruce Place and another called VUE on Oak Grove, both in Loring Park.
The site for sale has several retail shops in four older buildings, including the 15th Street Market, Jerusalem’s Restaurant and a surplus shop called General J’s, as well as an empty storefront that once housed a hair salon.
Baha Faroun, owner of 15th Street Market, leases his shop on the corner of the property. He said he knew the property has been for sale for about a year, but was surprised the block was being listed on Craigslist now.
“It’s interesting that they listed it on Craigslist,” he said. “I’ve never heard of a whole block being sold that way.”
Robert M. Anderson, who owns the property through Twin Town Properties LLC, and Barry Anderson, whose name is on the posting, declined to comment.
Robert M. Anderson, a retired Minneapolis police officer, has bought, sold and leased properties in Minneapolis over the years and has clashed with city officials over problems at his rental properties. In 2011, the Star Tribune reported that Anderson had bought 30 homes in north Minneapolis and then sold them on contracts for deed with high interest rates.
Though the property will incur some development costs, the $5 million asking price is fairly low, said Cambridge Commercial Realty’s Dick Grones, who described the area as “old and tired” and in need of development.
Robert M. Anderson is currently involved in a legal dispute over a bank loan. Private Bank Minnesota sued him in November 2011, saying he defaulted on a loan. Anderson alleged the bank said they’d extend his line of credit without the intention of following through. In 2012, a judge sided with the bank and ordered Anderson to pay just over $271,000. It’s still unpaid. A hearing on the case will be heard in late May.
While Craigslist might draw a certain customer, Christenson doubted it would pay off with a sale.
“I would say that if he does sell it that way, it’s just going to be dumb luck,” she said.