August 17, 2018 06:18 PM
A well-known mansion once up for sale as the most expensive home in Minnesota is now approved for demolition by the city of Orono.
The Pillsbury mansion — built by the family that made its fortune through running the world’s busiest flour mills along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis — now appears to be headed for demolition.
"That's really sad,” said Debbie Lee from Edina who was walking along Lake Minnetonka with her husband. "The thing is, if you destroy all of these old houses you really are destroying our history. I mean, go and look at the new houses and tell me is that what you want to be looking at in 100 years?"
Nicknamed “Southways” by the Pillsbury family, construction of the home finished in 1919 and in 2007, it was listed for sale at more than $52 million.
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A demolition permit filed with the city of Orono shows the current owners as James and Mary Jundt. KSTP's attempts to reach them for comment about future plans for the land were unsuccessful. The city administrator said since the home is not protected by designation as historic, the demolition permit was approved.
The 32,000 square foot estate has been a high-interest lakeside fixture. The home formerly sat on more than 12 acres. The land was recently subdivided into five different lots. The home now rests on more than three acres.
"You can't drive past something like this and not ask questions about it," said Jay Soule with Al & Alma’s Supper Club and Charter Cruises. "It’s completely magnificent."
Soule has been cruising Lake Minnetonka for 25 years and he said the house is always of interest to his passengers.
"I don't think the Pillsbury home is about the size. It's about how and when it was built and how long it has been here,” he said. “The big thing about it that makes it different from many other teardowns is the amount of land that's part of it."
The owners have 180 days from Aug. 6 -- the date the demolition permit was issued -- to complete the work.
Photos in this article used with permission from Karen Melvin Photography.
Updated: August 17, 2018 06:18 PM
Created: August 17, 2018 05:01 PM
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