A downtown Minneapolis penthouse for $200,000 — can that be right?

It's true. The 23rd floor unit of a building near Loring Green that overlooks Nicollet Mall is now available for about the price of a Manhattan parking space, thanks to the latest price drop. The 2,200-square-foot condo has two bedrooms and two baths, a wood-burning fireplace and three private balconies, all looking northeast over the skyline.

It has seen many a soiree.

"This place has breathtaking views and was designed for entertaining. That's why there's lots of open space and not many bedrooms," listing agent Barbara Brin said.

So, what's the catch?

Well, built in 1979 during the denouement of Jimmy Carter's presidency, it could use some updates. And it has a $2,344 monthly HOA fee, although the seller will cover those for six months.

So, what's so special about this penthouse?

"You're on top of the city overlooking all of downtown," Brin said. "And you have this canvas that you can create your own special place. It's not junk — not at all — but if you want, you can make it into anything you wish."

The property has had only two sets of owners. The first pair, philanthropists George Tennant Pennock and Elizabeth Hultgren "Jevne" Pennock, were civic patrons involved in arts and culture. They hosted events there and would walk to nearby Orchestra Hall to take in concerts.

They sold to fellow philanthropists and arts lovers Diane and Frank Lassman, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Minnesota. The Lassmans were patrons of Walker Art Center, among others.

For some prospective owners, a wood-burning fireplace might be a charm, but for others, a chore.

"Well, no one is going to knock on your door and ask if you want to buy a cord of wood," Brin said cheerfully. "This is a rare opportunity to create your dream place with jaw-dropping views."

Barbara Brin (612-759-1785 or bbrin@cbburnet.com) of Coldwell Banker Burnet has the $200,000 listing.