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Wanna Buy a Condo Inside a 118-Year-Old Uptown Fire Station?

Dalmatian not included.

The Holm Group & Associates/Spacecrafting|

Unit No. 4, available now, is just around back.

Minneapolis is flush with condos that were carved out of erstwhile warehouses, the past uses of which aren't obvious—milling, packing, some other industrial concern. The former life of 3524 Hennepin Ave., on the other hand, is far less mysterious. It's ol' Minneapolis Fire Station No. 23, built with solid brick back in 1906.

"It is a special building, that's for sure, and I think that's a huge draw," says Nicoli Holm with Keller Williams, the listing agent for unit No. 4. Located near Bde Maka Ska and across the street from Lakewood Cemetery, the one-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,420-square-foot condo—one of four that were created during a 1991 renovation—just hit the market for $425,000.

There's plenty of character to admire, like the old-growth timber beams and exposed brick walls, plus updated an updated kitchen and bathrooms; the den boasts enough square footage to add a second bedroom, Holm reports. Structurally, it's one of two smaller rear units, and includes one of the two attached garage stalls in back.

"It's unique, and it has a unique location," Holm says, adding that the condo complex is an early project from The Lander Group. "I lived in an Uptown condo for 17 years, and this has everything kinda rolled into one: the historic aspect, the location two blocks from the lake, very walkable."

Interestingly, by the 1950s, 3524 Hennepin had been converted into the metro headquarters for United States Civil Defense, a non-military organization that was tasked with preparing for and responding to attacks and disasters. Think of it as a volunteer-driven version of FEMA mixed with the Department of Homeland Security.

Screengrab from Star Tribune archives

In 1960, wrote Abe Altrowitz of the Minneapolis Star, nobody seemed to give a rat's ass about the Cold War-inspired org that had formed 11 years earlier.

Biggest problem in the effort to develop an adequate civil defense program here—or almost anywhere—is a general public apathy. Nobody seems to care. Civil defense for Minneapolis and its metropolitan area is being administered in a building that started out as a fire barn. It's a two-story brick structure at 3524 Hennepin Av., erected in the days of horse-drawn vehicles. Its wooden floors remain, but its hay loft is being converted into modern offices for the civil defense administration staff. The building is the nerve center for the area's civil defense set-up. When the appropriate signal is flashed 3524 Hennepin Av. becomes a bee-hive of operations-control.

Anyway! Back to the present real-estate market.

The current owner purchased unit No. 4 almost five years ago for $350,000, according to the county records. (The palatial unit No. 1 sold for $1.1 million late last year.) HOA fees will run ya $228 per month. Wanna see the place for yourself? There's an open house scheduled for this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.

In the meantime, here's a photo tour courtesy of The HōM Group and Spacecrafting:

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