Sunday, April 24, 2011

A working mansion | Minneapolis, MN

A working mansion |
Originally used as the dining room at the mansion, this room is now an office. Photo: David Brewster
"One-of-a-kind doesn't begin to describe the property Russ Underdahl Sr. is trying to sell.

It's a grand historic mansion with a Pillsbury pedigree. It's also an office building, with 29 individual offices, a kitchen/lunchroom, an elevator and a 40-car parking lot. And if the buyer wishes, the property can be sold furnished with rooms full of French and Asian antiques that Underdahl has spent a lifetime collecting.

'I like pretty things to come into this building,' he said. 'I'm a collector who never got rid of anything I collected.'

For almost four decades, the unusual 24,000-square-foot structure in south Minneapolis has been the headquarters of Pinecrest, the luxury architectural door and mantel company that Underdahl founded in 1954. His own office is in the mansion's ornate living room, where he works at a gilded Louis XIV desk, underneath a crystal chandelier from Czechoslovakia. 'It took five years to get [it] through the Iron Curtain,' he said."

The mansion's original design was inspired by French chateaux, and workers were brought from Europe to do the work. "The family had been to the Vatican and liked the floor there, so they used the same marble from the same quarry," he said.

Underdahl, who is selling the building himself, without a real estate agent, said he's heard from several companies with an interest in buying it. He's asking $2.99 million for the structure alone, which is appraised for tax purposes at just under $2 million. Underdahl is willing to negotiate on the furniture, too. 

Antique mirror imported from France. Photo: Marlin Levison
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