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Wanna Buy Nicollet Island’s Opulent Jewel Box of a Townhouse?

Stepping inside the 147-year-old Minneapolis property transports you from Europe to Asia and beyond.

True Real Estate/Spacecrafting

Built in 1877, the Grove Street Flats building on Nicollet Island represents a rarified slice of Minneapolis real estate—only around 150 residents live on the 48-acre island, with few enjoying such historic luxury. Lumber and milling tycoon W.W. Eastman, Nicollet Island's onetime owner, oversaw the construction of Grove Street Flats, which culminated with the Minneapolis Tribune raving that the limestone townhouses under mansard roofs were, "a model of elegance, comfort, convenience, and good taste."

Unit No. 8B last changed hands for $385,000 in 2001, and now, following more than $3 million of investment by its current owners, the townhouse has hit the market for $1.2 million. It's... well, let's let listing agent Rob Gintner with True Real Estate take a stab at describing it.

"My first impression was… holy smokes! It's a unicorn; you'll never see anything like this again," Gintner says with a chuckle. "Like... where am I right now? I'm usually not at a loss for words, but when it comes to this property I really am. You walk in and you're just transported."

He's not kidding. The house was a passion project of the current owners, who spent two decades enlisting artisans to deck the space out with opulent, thematic rooms.

Among the gilded features tucked inside the one-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,799-square-foot home: walls and ceilings painted by local artists, seemingly infinite chandeliers, a hulking solid granite bathtub with dragon-sculpture faucet, oceans of exposed limestone and hand-carved millwork, a built-in waterfall feature, hand-tiled astrological mosaic backsplashes, and "possibly an old tunnel entrance that's been sealed."

The $1,029 per month HOA fee (includes cable!) shouldn't dissuade many shoppers at this price point.

In a culture where expressionless greige properties dominate, the maximalist showstopper at 8 Grove St. likely appeals to a narrower slice of the market. Gintner suspects that, given the square footage, it might attract empty nesters or young professionals.

"Someone who wants to take in the views of the downtown skyline and the trails," he says. "Someone who can appreciate the attention, the detail, and the craftsmanship that went into it... someone with an appreciation for history."

Craving some additional Grove Street Flats history? Searching "8 Grove Street" in the newspaper archives brings up thousands of hits, including ones about it coming "whisker close" to the wrecking ball in the '80s, though perhaps none as funny as the following front page story from the March 5, 1928, edition of The Minneapolis Star; Racket's film critic, Keith Harris, tells me this legal saga feels ripped from 1937's The Awful Truth. (The Strib's Eric Roper wrote this nice, broader history of Nicollet Island in 2019.)

But back to the present! Let's take a photo tour of No. 8B, courtesy of Gintner and photography firm Spacecrafting:

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