Colfax apartment proposal is back

Apartment project that rallied preservationists returns for city consideration

2320 Colfax Ave. S., the proposed site of a 45-unit apartment project. Credit: Michelle Bruch

A controversial four-story apartment project is back on the city’s agenda, as the owner works to secure a permit for the demolition of a rooming house deemed historic at 2320 Colfax Ave. S.

The Lander Group is proposing to build 45 units on two properties at the northwest corner of 24th & Colfax. The City Council blocked the proposal in May by ruling the house designed by architect T.P. Healy is historic.

Property owner Michael Crow said that despite the project’s publicity, and despite promises from advocates to help restore or sell the building, he hasn’t heard a word from them in months.

“I’m still here holding the bag,” Crow said in an email. “It’s the same problem that I have had all along, no one wants the problems of running a rooming house and there is not enough of anything left to restore.”

Crow said he studied the possibility of converting the building into a fourplex, an idea he said was suggested by “Rehab Addict” television host Nicole Curtis. He said a fourplex would cost $1.4 million, twice the market value of the property.

“The only reason that I was selling is because of health and financial hardship and the delays have been devastating,” Crow said.

In May, City Council members voted unanimously for the home’s preservation.

“Do we want to be a city with 10 Healy homes? Or do we want to be a city with 110 Healy homes?” said Council Member Gary Schiff (9th Ward) at the time. “This is a market-building approach to historic preservation that recognizes that the most unique thing the city of Minneapolis has is the historic nature of our homes and the age of our housing stock.”

The newly-elected City Council, with seven new members, might feel differently.