Mario’s has been shuttered at 5201 Chicago Ave. S. since a fire in 2005, and the building continues to sit empty while ownership of the property is resolved.
Council Member John Quincy said owners Ed and Flo Cody have died in recent years, and without leaving a will, the ownership remains in limbo. No entity can purchase or lease the property until it completes the probate process and a judge determines ownership, he said. Quincy and a city attorney are working to speed up the probate process, which can take more than a year as multiple parties are interested in the estate.
The property has more than $25,000 in zoning fines and vacant building registration fees, and unpaid property taxes date back to 2014. Hennepin County can take the property after three years of unpaid taxes, according to Quincy’s office. The electricity is currently turned off, and water and gas service are also expected to be turned off.
Quincy is asking neighbors to call 311 for any complaints of trash, snow removal or other nuisances on the site. No one is living in the building, he said, although the eldest son has been working on the property.
Since the fire, Quincy described progress made in “fits and starts.”
“Every two years when it looked like something was happening, there was another step backwards,” he said. “It’s really been hard for them.”
Quincy said he’s offering compassion and support, “but we also have to do something.”