The Van Dusen mansion in downtown Minneapolis is getting reborn as an events center. The historic home was recently a multi-million dollar pawn in the Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme.
The mansion was purchased in April for $1.55 million by St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, his son, Matt and daughter-in law, Jennifer, who have extensive food and beverage management experience. The Van Dusen Mansion, will specialize in weddings, social events and business meetings.
Jeff and his wife, Julie, have a keen interest in historic buildings and already own a bed and breakfast in Stillwater that's been renovated. They also completely renovated the downtown Saint Paul building that houses Jeff 's law offices.
The partnership between the elder and younger Andersons, called the Van Dusen Preservation Group, came together because the investors saw an opportunity to save the mansion from an uncertain fate.
"This was such a unique space for events," said Matt Anderson, who is researching the possibility that one of his grandmothers worked in the house as a maid. "We all sat down and said 'This makes a lot of sense.'"
The South Minneapolis mansion, a 12,000-square-foot pink granite home with castle-like turrets, was built in 1892 for George Washington Van Dusen, an entrepreneur who founded Minnesota's first and most prosperous grain processing and distribution firm in 1883. It was rescued in 1994 two weeks before it was scheduled to be demolished. After extensive renovations on the main house, carriage house and a more modern addition, the house was sold again and then operated as an event center and bed and breakfast.
It was bought in 2007 by Trevor Cook, who used the building as offices from which he ran a Ponzi scheme that stole $190 million from more than 1,000 investors. He pleaded guilty in April.