Alex Boylan has been in real estate for 17 years, the life cycle of a cicada. But this is the first time he has handled an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a property with two houses on one lot that are independent of each other.
“Under Minneapolis law, you can live in one house and rent out the other,” he said. “It’s great for families that want to be close together or for someone who wants to have extra income.”
The ADU was the first built in the city of Minneapolis, according to architect Steve Jensen. But that’s not the extent of the property’s claim to fame.
The house and ADU are located in Minneapolis’ Bryn Mawr neighborhood on a .2-acre lot. The two-bedroom main house and smaller, one-bedroom ADU were both designed and built by Jensen in 1988. That was before ADUs were approved by the city in 2014, but it wasn’t technically an ADU because it was originally used as an office and garage, not a home.
Jensen, who loves light and building in harmony with nature, bought the hilly land from Leonid Hurwicz, a Nobel Prize-winning University of Minnesota economics professor.
“The site had never been built on because of the hill — that had buffaloed people,” he said. “But I loved the challenge, and the idea of being able to walk to my office across the yard.”
The main house has an open floor plan in a walkable area connected to other Minneapolis neighborhoods by parkways. Just one freeway exit from downtown Minneapolis, the site is within walking distance of Walker Art Center, restaurants and other amenities. The house also has views of downtown Minneapolis.
“That was one of the charms — you could see straight to the IDS Center in a secluded, nice neighborhood,” Jensen said.
What is now the ADU was Jensen’s garage, with an office on top. It was converted into a living unit by Jason McLean, the former Minneapolis restaurateur who became notorious for his involvement the Children’s Theatre sex abuse scandal of the 1980s. In 2017, a Hennepin County judge entered a default judgment of $2.5 million against McLean for abusing a student at the theater in 1983. A total of five lawsuits were filed against McLean with default judgments of $8.5 million.
“When the garage was being built, I had a chance to put in sewer and water and gas, so I did that,” Jensen said. “And I wanted to keep the house, but then our lives changed. I went on sabbatical, and the plan was to work nine months and mess around for three, sailing the world, but found that didn’t really work, so we sold it to Jason.”
McLean dug up the driveway and turned the garage into a living room. The upstairs atelier became a bedroom, Jensen said.
“I think Jason lived there and rented out the main house,” Jensen said. The property recently was put on the market for $499,900.
Alex Boylan, 612-242-9318, Edina Realty, has the listing. A sale is pending.