Lawsuit attempts to thwart demolition of Healy house

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A group known as the Healy Project has filed a lawsuit against the owners of 2320 Colfax Ave. S. in an attempt to block demolition of the 1893-era home. 

The complaint comes less than a week after the City Council voted 11-2 to allow property owner Michael Crow to move ahead with demolition of the rooming house to make way for a new 45-unit apartment building proposed by the Lander Group. The house was designed by T.P. Healy — a noted master builder who was active in the city from 1886 to 1906. 

An unsigned post on the Healy Project website elaborated on the complaint: “The lawsuit will establish that the property is a historic resource and that the property will be preserved for the benefit of future generations of Minnesotans. Moreover, the lawsuit will establish that there are viable options to demolition for this property.”

The complaint filed in Hennepin County District on Wednesday alleges that the defendants — Michael and Linda Crow — have violated the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act by proposing to demolish the house. The Healy Project argues that the house is a “historic resource,” which is considered a “natural resource” that is entitled to protection under the law.

The fate of the house has been the subject of intense debate for several months. Nicole Curtis of the DIY Network’s “Rehab Addict” led a social media campaign to try to save the house and a group called the Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition (MRRDC) held nightly vigils outside the house before last week’s Council vote. 

The property is known as the Orth house, which was named for its first owner. The 2320 Colfax Ave. S. represents a turning point in Healy’s career. It was his last Queen Anne-style home before he moved toward a Colonial Revival style.  

A hearing to consider the plaintiff’s request for a temporary restraining order has been set for Monday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. before Hennepin County Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum, according to court records.