Council committee approves demolition of Healy house

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A City Council committee voted this morning to allow the demolition of the Healy house at 2320 Colfax in the Wedge neighborhood to make way for a new apartment complex.

The Council’s Zoning & Planning Committee voted 5-1 to grant property owner Michael Crow’s appeal of a recent Heritage Preservation Commission decision blocking demolition. City Council Member Lisa Goodman (Ward 7) cast the sole “no” vote, arguing the property will suffer an “untimely death as a result of its location” and raised concerns that city leaders were supporting policies encouraging density at the expense of historic preservation.

Committee chair Lisa Bender (Ward 10), meanwhile, said she had concerns about the historic integrity of the property, which has been substantially altered over the years. The Healy house is home to a rooming house. It was built in 1893 as a Queen Anne-style home that builder T.P. Healy had become known for in the city.

Bender, who lives in a 1908-era home about a block from the Healy house, said she “can’t imagine anyone would invest half a million dollars” to restore the property and make it viable as a single-family home. 

Crow has been working with the Lander Group on a proposal for a 45-unit apartment complex on the site.

Supporters of the demolition request who spoke at today’s public hearing argued that it’s not economically feasible to restore the property and unfair to infringe on Crow’s property rights. Opponents, meanwhile, argued that the property could be restored to honor its history and tearing it down will eliminate affordable housing in the neighborhood, which is in short supply. Healy’s great-grandson John Cuningham was among those testifying today calling on the committee to preserve the house. 

The full Council will vote on Crow’s appeal on April 25.  

The Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition (MRRDC) is planning nightly vigils beginning Sunday, April 20 at 9 p.m. outside 2320 Colfax to protest the committee’s vote approving demolition of the house until the full Council vote.