Southways, the estate in Orono, includes a 36,000-square-foot mansion that was once the summer home of John S. Pillsbury Sr. It stayed in the family’s possession until 1992.
The 13-acre spread first landed on the market for a whopping $53.5 million in 2007. The price was dramatically reduced to $24 million in 2013, before the property was divided into five lots and sold off piece by piece.
Twenty miles west of downtown Minneapolis, the property sits along a peninsula on Lake Minnetonka. It was originally designed by Harriet T. Lindeberg and built in 1918. Seven structures were within the estate, including a greenhouse, pool house, and caretaker’s cottage. There were seven bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. Out back, there was a pool as well as a tennis court, plus 415 feet of private lakeshore.
Within the brick-and-stone main home was a 6,000-bottle wine cellar, two master baths, sunroom, gym, and nine fireplaces. The home graced the cover of “Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka,” by Bette Hammel, published in 2009.
“It’s the wealthiest property in the state of Minnesota,” says Daniel Gustafson of Coldwell Banker. “In the late 1890s this (area) was the ‘who’s who’ of Minneapolis. These were all summer homes.” Not only did the Pillsbury family summer here but so did the Daytons, who made their money in department stores before founding Target.
How did we reach demolition stage? In 1992, investor Jim Jundt snapped up the lakefront manse for $5 million and poured a ton of dough into its renovation. When Jundt tried to flip the finished structure in 2007, his plan flopped. Once the most expensive listing in the state, the property dropped dramatically in value over the course of a decade.
Gustafson believes the cost to live in the mansion was the reason for its downfall. “These big mansions are kind of like white elephants: very pretty to look at but expensive to maintain,” he says.
Locals “are really disappointed and don’t want to see what many people consider an historic landmark or structure come down,” says Gustafson.
The Jundts had until Feb. 2, 2019, to raze the property, but the demolition took place this week.
“We’ve seen a substantial surge in upper-bracket new construction on Lake Minnetonka this summer,” says Dan Hollerman of Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty. “Historically, it’s been difficult to find the right parcels of land that could safely accommodate upper-bracket real estate investments. In my estimation, the market was hungry for new construction options in A-rated locations, and the owners of the estate realized that need.”
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