Chaska's historic C.P. Klein Mansion is overdue for a makeover.

The 1911 home was converted into a city building in 1967 but more recently has fallen into disuse.

The city is trying to change that.

The mansion, former home to the Chaska Historical Society, went on the residential market in early August after the city had exhausted all options for using it as a public building. Several serious potential buyers have been looking at the home.

Gayle Dungey, the Coldwell Banker Burnet Realtor who is listing the mansion, said it will take an expert in vintage restoration to bring the home back to its original glory for private use. She has already shown it to four potential buyers and said she has been impressed with their expertise.

Because of the home's historic status, many aspects of its structure cannot be changed. Dungey said the potential buyers haven't indicated any interest in changing exterior or structural elements.

Dungey hopes to see bids in the coming weeks as the buyers review architectural plans. The home of more than 4,000 square feet is listed for $240,000, but it needs a total overhaul, which has been projected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

Overall, lookers have been most impressed with the building's structure. "The bones of the home are sound," Dungey said.

In addition, the interior walls of the home still bear original murals, which have been left untouched and are in excellent condition. The home also has a wraparound porch and a grand staircase.

It was built for Christian P. Klein, a businessman in the brick business who also established the First National Bank of Chaska with his brother Charles.

In 1966 the city purchased the home and used it as a public building. Initially, it served as City Hall.

In 1988, the home's first floor became a Minnesota Driver's Examination Station. The Chaska Historical Society had offices upstairs.

But for nearly 10 years now, the building has been unused, and the city has been unsure what to do with it. Assistant City Administrator Bart Fischer said finding a public purpose for the mansion has been a challenge.

Last year, a restaurant entrepreneur wanted to transform it into a fine-dining restaurant and removed the electrical and plumbing systems before giving up on the project. Ownership reverted to the city.

The city decided the next owner would need to have the know-how to convert it back into a residence.

If the city does find a buyer, Fischer said it would like to still be able to show the home during the holiday season and River City Days, the city's annual celebration on the fourth full weekend in July.

Joy E. Petersen is a Minneapolis freelance writer.