Saturday, April 01, 2006

(Edina, MN) Tear-Down City

by Tom Bozzo

It's been three months since we've been up here, and in the meanwhile the mid-sixties ranch with walkout basement across the street from my mother-in-law's house of the same genus was (mostly) destroyed and is in the process of being rebuilt.

The contractor's sign in the yard advertises the project as a "complete home renovation," which based on this site appears to be a term of art with some legal meaning that permits a more relaxed permit approval process than a wholesale tear-down would involve. As you'll see when we get back home and I upload the pictures, this is classic case of divergence between the law's letter and spirit. The only piece of the original house that will have survived the renovation is a wall between the garage and the rest of the house.

From my mother-in-law's description, this may even be a radical case of a fix-and-flip, as the owners are reportedly in the real-estate trade. Draw such conclusions as you will from the observation that the presumed owners pulled up this morning to check on the state of the project in a red Escalade.

We'll see what long-term interest rates look like by the time the job is completed.
not clear why you care. so someone decided to take out an old house and put up a new one. so what? and if they can fix it and flip it, again, so what? you sound as if you think this is evil. why?
It would be easy to overstate how much I care, Anon., the post notwithstanding. I don't fool myself that the buyers might have given what they've spent on the purchase plus the difference between a milder renovation and a tear-down to charity. It's not evil, just excessive.
There is a house in my neighborhood that has essentially been replaced. Only they did it in the oddest fashion. First they lifted whole thing and poured a new foundation. Then they lowered it and completely gutted it. (They replaced nearly all the studs with new ones.) Next they replace the whole exterior: the shingles, the plywood backing, insulation, windows, etc. Then the roof, the whole roof, was replaced bit by bit. Now the exterior paint and the finish carpentry work are being done.

My guess for the complicated way they went about making a new house was the permit process and cost. (Maybe, too, to fly under the planning process for new construction radar.) I'm sure it'll be flipped...eventually.
I used to live in Edina, near the intersection of 62 and 169, in a very similar sort of house. It had been built in 1955, which you knew exactly since all of the kids from the family had written their names and the date in the concrete pour for the driveway. For me, the most notable thing about the house (besides the Frank Lloyd Wright-but-lazier style) was a long, narrow hallway in the basement which had about 9 closets in it.
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