Lowry Hill couple plans to replace home with condos

Lowry Hill house
A Lowry Hill couple planned to demolish their house near the Walker Art Center and build a five-unit condo building in its place. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

A Lowry Hill couple is planning to demolish their existing home and turn it into a five-unit condo building.

Mohsen and Julie Sadeghi own a 110-year-old home at 35 Groveland Terrace, across the street from the Walker Art Center. They have owned the property since 1975 and have lived there since the 1980s.

In an Oct. 30 letter to the Heritage Preservation Commission, they said the house is no longer able to “meet our needs” or “the needs of the future generations of single-family homeowners.” “No amount of interior renovation will solve the problems that plague the home as situated on the site, especially in the winter,” they wrote.

The new condo building would have underground parking and an elevator, according to the Sadeghis, who intend to live in it. Each unit would have three bedrooms.

Mohsen Sadeghi said they plan to start construction this summer.

Their existing 2.5-story house was constructed for $22,000 in 1909 by the architectural firm of Long, Lamoreaux & Long, which also designed the Theodore Wirth House. It was operated as a rental property before the Sadeghis purchased it.

The city’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development recommended allowing approval of the demolition. Senior city planner Sheila Vemmer wrote in a staff report that the house has seen “extensive” alterations and renovations, such as the replacement of its original windows and the addition of a solarium at the front of the building, which have undermined its historical significance.

“The building additions and exterior elevation alterations have compromised the feeling of an early twentieth-century house on Lowry Hill,” Vemmer wrote.

The house is not locally designated as historic and is not listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association voted not to oppose the plans for the site at its November meeting. 

Board member Thomas Regnier, who lives near the property, wrote to the Heritage Planning Commission that he regretted his vote. In a report to the commission, he wrote that the property merits historic protection because the house is in almost “remarkable pristine original exterior condition.” 

HPC members disagreed, saying that the many alterations to the building over the years have diminished what historical significance it may have had and voting 6-1 to approve the application to demolish the house. 

The Saghedis have yet to submit plans for the condo building to the city. The site is currently zoned R2, a low-density two-family district. Under the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, the site would be zoned Interior 2, allowing multifamily buildings with more than three units on larger lots.