Crews still battling fire Lake Minnetonka property owned by member of billionaire family

An under construction house caught fire on Wednesday evening.
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Minnetonka house fire

Fire crews are still at the scene of the blaze that consumed a property on the shores of Lake Minnetonka Wednesday evening.

The fire at 2750 Gale Road, near Breezy Point at the east end of the lake, erupted shortly after 6 p.m., before expanding significantly to the point it consumed the entire structure.

It created a massive smoke plume that could be seen for miles, even appearing on weather radar with the smoke moving to the south. The Lakeshore Weekly reports that the effort to douse the blaze was hampered by the fact there are no fire hydrants in the area, meaning water had to be transported in.

There are still flames in the basement of the property on Thursday morning, with the Wayzata fire chief telling the Star Tribune that one crew remains at the scene to ensure the fire doesn't spread.

More about the property

Hennepin County records show that 2750 Gale Road, in Woodland, was bought in 2017 for $5.4 million.

It is owned by Stanley Park LLC, which according to Minnesota company records is managed by Jon Davis, a member of the Davis Family that Forbes pegged in 2015 as being worth $1.7 billion.

Jon Davis is the CEO of cheese and dairy supplier Davisco, which is based in Le Sueur and was founded by his grandfather, Stanley, in 1943. The company was sold to Canadian firm Agropur in 2014.

The Davis family also previously owned Sun Country Airlines, saving it from bankruptcy in 2011 before selling it to a New York investment firm in 2017. The family's other companies include quartz countertop maker Cambria.

You can see from this Zillow listing what the 12,674-square-foot mansion on the land used to look like, but it has since been demolished to make way for a new property, with county records listing 2019 as the construction start date.

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A new wood and stone mansion named "Stanley Park" was set to replace it, with Murphy & Co. Design the architects. A page for the planned mansion has been removed from the Murphy & Co. website, but you can still see an artist's image of the building on Google.

At a Woodland City Council meeting in 2018, architects and Davis spoke in favor of the project, saying it would replace the existing mansion and its "dilapidated swimming pool," to make way for a "new house, pool and sport court."

Davis, who also owns a property in nearby Tonka Bay, told the council that he was embarking on the construction in "good faith" and intended to "enhance the property."

As part of the project, 58 trees would also be removed from the property and replaced with 133 new ones.

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