Metro State to buy holdout property

Metropolitan State University may finally be able to complete their parking project — The Ramsey County District Court has granted the university title and possession of the property as of Oct. 26, although the property owner will be allowed to remove the house from the site before that date. (file photo)
Metropolitan State University may finally be able to complete their parking project — The Ramsey County District Court has granted the university title and possession of the property as of Oct. 26, although the property owner will be allowed to remove the house from the site before that date. (file photo)

Price tag unclear, owner may move Bates Ave. house

After years of wanting to buy out the quirky adobe home at 393 Bates Ave., Metropolitan State University officials announced they’ve been given the go ahead to acquire it.

The Ramsey County District Court has granted the university title and possession of the property as of Oct. 26, although the property owner will be allowed to remove the house from the site before that date.

Jim Smith, a former resident of the home, says owners will try to move the building to another location in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. Beyond that, he couldn’t comment, saying the attorneys representing the group that owns the house have asked for the owners to be tight-lipped.

Metro State will have to pay up for its acquisition of the property through eminent domain proceedings, but the amount is yet to be determined.

“The court also appointed an independent panel of three condemnation commissioners to review the property and determine the final purchase price,” a document from Metro State reads.

The value has previously been set as low as $51,400 or as high as $525,000, according to property records. The Ramsey County Assessor’s Office says the house and lot are worth $51,400, while a contract-for-deed sale filed at the Ramsey County Recorder’s Office two weeks ago indicates the dingy, one-story oddity was purchased for $525,000. It was sold by a shell corporation called JTRBSDC, Inc. to Scott A. and Linda M. Gunderson General Partners, A Minnesota Partnership. It’s unclear what the motivation behind the higher priced sale was.

For decades the house’s unique exterior has attracted attention from Twin Cities architecture buffs.  According to an entry on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website, 393 Bates “is a rare example of a one story Adobe Revival house.”

The 1,436-square-foot home was built in 1929.

After the house is removed, the university intends to use the lot to add additional surface parking alongside its massive 750-car parking ramp that was just completed in August. The school previously acquired a few other houses on the block in preparation for the project.

In the long term, the school imagines building an additional parking ramp in the space.

— Patrick Larkin

 

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