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Wanna Buy a Minneapolis Home Directly Next to a 92-Year-Old Grain Elevator?

Enthusiasts of industrial grain storage will find a lot to like on the West side of the property.

10:38 AM CDT on August 1, 2022

Reliance Realty Advisers

It's rare to find a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,325-square-foot south Minneapolis home for under $200,000. It's even rarer to find one that's sitting under 200 feet of industrial grain history.

But that's the case at 3401 E. 41st St., the isolated home that's situated directly next to a massive, looming grain elevator. The property hit the market in June, and it can be yours today for $195,000. When showing the place, listing agent Victoria Edick with Reliance Realty Advisers is prepared for the typical first question.

“It’s mostly… ‘What is that?’" she says with a chuckle. "I had one person say that it’d be nice to play racquetball against it. I said ‘For sure! From the kitchen, from the upstairs…’”

Featuring leaded glass, lovely built-ins, and original hardwood flooring, the fixer-upper from 1915 existed on its large lot for 15 years before its towering concrete neighbor arrived.

That stretch of grain terminals along Hiawatha Avenue were built to service Minnesota's first rail lines. At the time, as cataloged by MinnPost in this fascinating grain-silo history, 36th Street represented "the edge of civilization," thus rendering the area ideal for storing and shipping grain.

In 1899, Maine-born grain merchant Frank Peavey teamed with Minneapolitan contractor Charles Haglin to build the very first cylindrical, elevator-style silo. Their maiden silo, the Peavey–Haglin Experimental Concrete Grain Elevator, still stands tall in St. Louis Park, advertising Nordic Ware to drivers on Hwy. 100.

"Their design was so strong, simple, and efficient—and the quality of concrete used in them so high—that some of those first-wavers are still being used today," Don Jacobson wrote for MinnPost. "They’re among the few industrial structures anywhere in the country still being used exactly as they were intended 100 years ago."

These days, developers are dreaming up new intentions for the antiquated Hiawatha Avenue structures. The facility at 3333 41st St. E.—the one neighboring the home in question—got outta the grain game in 2008; it has been used mostly for cold storage ever since, Finance & Commerce reported in 2020. Adam Mackie, a retired Navy man from Ely, purchased the hulking property via county auction for $23,000 in 2015. He was the lone bidder. F&C reports he intends to re-imagine his 34,000-square-foot canvas as a brewery and "commercial maker spaces for artists and other craftspeople."

“There’s so much interesting space to use,” Mackie said at the time. “It’s been a fun puzzle.”

The future of 3333 41st St. E. will be of great interest to any buyer who moves into the home next door, and Edick is finding creative ways to highlight the unique setting.

“The location [is the biggest selling point], the yard especially," she says. "Normally in the city you don’t have that much space between neighbors. Yes, the grain bins are big and concrete, and it can seem to be an eyesore, but I’ve tried to explain to people that it’s kind of like your own privacy wall. It might not look pretty, but you also aren’t watching or hearing traffic.” 

In related bizarre residential property placement: Revisit this north Minneapolis home that's marooned on an island amid heavy industry, busy roads, and a neighboring boat dealership. It never found a new buyer.

Let's enjoy a photo tour of 3401 E. 41st St., courtesy of Reliance Realty Advisers:

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