Owner of 1721 Princeton still in negotiations with Macalester
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Owner of 1721 Princeton still in negotiations with Macalester

The house at 1721 Princeton Avenue still stands amidst a debate over its future, Macalester is hoping to purchase the property to save it from demolition.  Photo courtesy of Save 1721 Princeton Facebook page.
The house at 1721 Princeton Avenue still stands amidst a debate over its future, Macalester is hoping to purchase the property to save it from demolition. Photo courtesy of Save 1721 Princeton Facebook page.

As of Wednesday, the new owner of 1721 Princeton was still in tentative purchasing negotiations with Macalester. The leaders of the preservation effort said in a recent post on their Facebook page that negotiations are ongoing and they are still hopeful for a positive resolution.

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, the Housing and Land Use Committee of the Macalester Groveland Community Council met to discuss the teardown issue.

The Community Council has limited powers with regard to teardowns. It has no input on permits for lot splits or demolitions, Council chair Sam Walling explained. However, the Council does have input on zoning variances, but is only able to recommend, not change laws directly.

The City of St. Paul is studying the housing guidelines in the city ward that the property is located in, but the report is not yet complete. A review of stakeholder recommendations will be completed by City Planner Mike Richardson by mid-December, and a revision of the recommendations will be submitted to the St. Paul Planning Commission sometime after the New Year.

The report will likely propose changes in the ward’s zoning code, and could include recommended changes in setback, height limitations and possibly design.

At the meeting, the potential to create a neighborhood conservation district such as the one that encompasses the Prospect Park neighborhood in Minneapolis was discussed. The preservation effort leaders may explore this possibility and come up with design standards for the neighborhood.

The property at 1721 Princeton, after being owned by former Macalester professor Harry West for a number of years, was sold to a new owner who announced plans to tear down the house and build two new houses on the lot. After plans for the lot’s development became public, supporters and community members rallied to save the house, holding rallies and starting a Facebook page to draw attention to the proposed teardown.

December 5, 2014

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