Just For Fun

Top 5 Barker & Hedges Real Estate Posts of 2011

It has been an interesting year in the world of Twin Cities real estate. There have been ups and downs, twists and turns. And we've discussed some of the interesting developments here in this blog! Read on to find out what the top Barker & Hedges real estate posts were for 2011.

Unique Home: Former Donaldson Mansion for Sale in Minneapolis

It is nice to daydream once in a while, right? It was fun to imagine living in the Former Donaldson mansion, too. The 10,000-square-foot home at 1712 Mount Curve Avenue in Minneapolis was listed for a price of $6,500,000.

Minneapolis Among 18 "Coolest" Cities in America

Men's Journal Magazine proclaimed what Twin Cities residents know when Minneapolis was selected as one of 18 "coolest towns in America." The editors say its "countless parks, large biking community and numerous farmers markets" are the reasons.

Minneapolis Makes Forbes Top 10 Affordable Cities List

In January, Forbes published its list of America's 10 Most Affordable Cities. After starting with a list of 50 cities, the Minneapolis - Saint Paul Twin Cities Metro Area ended up ranking at No. 7 overall.

Strange-But-True: Into the Snake Pit

Forget snakes on a plane. The Sessions bought a 5-bedroom house on almost two acres to make it their dream home. Unfortunately, the home’s previous residents didn't feel like leaving. Be comforted by the fact that this story didn't...

RE/MAX Results.net City & Neighborhood Film Festival

For the second year in a row, RE/MAX Results is hosting its Results.net Film Festival, a contest in which amateur film-makers and video enthusiasts can creatively highlight their community.

RE/MAX Results wants to know what you like about your city or neighborhood. What makes it great? What makes it tick? Show us the heart and feel of your city or neighborhood. Use comedy, drama, documentary or whatever format you desire, but the very most important thing - be creative!

To enter the contest, submit a video using one of the three methods described in the Rules and Regulations. The length of the film must be less than three minutes. Entries that are derogatory towards another community, any company or business or any person, group of people, race or religion will be immediately disqualified. Entries are being accepted through October 31st, 2011.

The RE/MAX Results judges will review all entries. There will be five judges that will select the winners of the top five entries as well as some honorable mentions. An awards ceremony will be held in November, with an exact date and time yet to be determined.

Each of the top three selected videos will receive a beautiful Results.net City and Neighborhood Film Festival award, plus the following cash prizes:

  • First place video: $1,000.00
  • Second place video: $750.00
  • Third place video: $500.00

Minneapolis resident Danny Chamberlain's video won the Results.net Film Festival Grand Prize of $2,000 last year for his "Minneapolis - City of Lakes" film contribution, which you can view below. Visit the RE/MAX Results Film Festival website to see second and third place winners from 2010.


Historic House Finds a Home

For more than 10 years, what was thought to be a worthless shack sat in the corner of the Maple Grove Public Works yard. It's owner, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, didn't know the diamond in the rough it had on its hands.

Built in 1854, it was the area's first frame house in an era of log cabins and sod huts. Whatsmore, the man who lived there was Pierre Bottineau, a legendary frontiersman who helped pioneer development in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Maple Grove, Osseo and parts of the Dakotas.

After the building's history was discovered, MnDOT hired the Minneapolis firm of MacDonald & Mack Architects to restore it. The structure had been moved around and subjected to a number of different uses over the years. It was moved to the Public Works site during clearing for the Hwy. 610 expansion in 1998.

In summer 2009, the building was hauled to its new home in the Elm Creek Park Reserve, where it has been restored for use as a history center. A grand opening is slated for 2011.

Read more at the Star Tribune.

Photo from Maple Grove Historic Preservation Society.


Unique Real Estate: A Duluth Fixer-Upper

The historic St. Louis County jail may be demolished if a buyer can't be found. The county has spent nearly $250,000 over 6 months to maintain it, but so far no one has stepped forward to buy it. The asking price is only $60,000.

St. Louis county has applied again for a permit to tear it down. The last time it applied, the Duluth City Council rejected the permit but the state of the economy may mean that could change this time.

The jail, completed in 1923, is one of four governmental buildings and a monument that are part of the Duluth Civic Center Historic District.


A Minnesota Thanksgiving

It’s turkey time. Hope you have yours on hand for tomorrow! About 46 million turkeys were eaten on last Thanksgiving Day.

For that, many can give thanks to Minnesota turkey producers! Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other state, raising about 45 million each year. North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia round out the top 5 states.

Part of the reasons why Minnesota's 600 or so turkey farms are so successful is because of the close proximity of corn and soybeans. The state's turkey industry supports about 1,800 corn and soybean farmers.

Additionally, the University of Minnesota and the College of Agriculture and Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine have helped farmers address the issues such as preventing disease and providing the birds with better diets.

When you overindulge in turkey and all the trimmings tomorrow, please don't overindulge in alcohol and then drive. Not only could you be placing the lives of yourself and others in danger, but DWI and DUI enforcement is has been increased in Minnesota over the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Unique Homes ~ Bridge-to-Home Conversions

Nothing too big to report today, so today is a post Just for Fun. But it also may give you a new look at unique homes and creative architectural problem solving.

I can't quite remember how I stumbled across it, but I found this Radical Redesign: Bridge-to-Home Building Conversions. I could not believe that there areseveral bridges that have been converted into living spaces or vice-versa: homes and buildings that were designed to also be a bridge.

My favorite picture from the series is this one of a skinny stone house precariously perched on a stone bridge. It has been in Ambleside, England, for over 300 years. It is currently a store and visitors center.


Hecker Multi-Million Dollar Home for Sale

Last week, we wrote about a 40,000-square-foot home that's going up on the auction block in December. Now another intriguing Twin Cities mansion is up for sale.

A multimillion-dollar home in Medina MN once owned by Twin Cities businessman and auto dealership mogul Denny Hecker is being sold by a bank for $5.6 million. That's down from $6.5 million.

The 17,251-square-foot home sits on 5.35 acres at 1492 Hunter Drive. It is a a private, gated estate with six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, and an indoor basketball court. It also has a guest house, 200 feet of Mooney Lake shoreline, and 11 garage stalls.

It's fun to take a look at these homes, even if they're out of reach for most of us....

Got a Few Million Sitting Around?

Southways, the 13-acre former Pillsbury estate located on Lake Minnetonka's Smiths Bay, is being offered for sale in an auction. The 40,000-square-foot mansion stalled while listed on the market at $53.5 million.

The home includes a pool and tennis complex, smoking house, tea house, caretaker's cottage/greenhouse and caretaker's maintenance shop. It is available in its entirety or as five separate parcels of two-plus acres.

The 1918 property was originally owned by John S. and Eleanor Pillsbury, son and daughter-in-law of the co-founder of the grain producer and food-making giant. Eleanor Pillsbury died in 1991 at age 104, at which time James Jundt and his wife, Joann bought Southways.

Got the cash laying around? The sealed-bid deadline is December 9.

If that's not quite your style, please take a look at much-more reasonably priced Lake Minnetonka homes....

Photo Friday - Fall Colors Along the Mississippi River

It has been cold. It has even been snowy. And not only did we get a crummy summer, we've almost been gypped out of fall, too.

But there have still some great autum colors in the trees, even if they are a little harder to spot around the Twin Cities right now.


These pictures were taken along the Mississippi River in northern Minneapolis. Or was it St. Paul? Actually I was standing on the bridge in between, so... take your pick!


There is still some time to see great color like this. The Minnesota DNR Fall Color Report map can give you a pretty good idea of where you can expect to see some nice fall colors.



Photo Friday - Wayzata's Lake Street

Located approximately 12 miles west of Minneapolis on Highway 12, Wayzata MN is a beautiful town on Lake Minnetonka. It is known for the lake and its quiet residential neighborhoods. But it also has a a thriving downtown business district, including along the shore at Lake Street.

This is a Friday at just before dusk in Wayzata. As you can see, residents here enjoy a relaxed and social atmosphere particularly at Lake Street. The area is especially popular in the warmer months. There are several cafes and restaurants with open-air seating. Small businesses and boutiques provide a variety of services and shopping options. Parking is available by car or by boat!

Take a look at last week's Photo Friday to see beautiful Lake Minnetonka at Sunset. ...