Hennepin County puts abandoned grain elevator on auction block

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It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but this large, abandoned grain elevator near downtown Minneapolis could be yours if you're willing to brave Hennepin County's public auction next week.

Located at 3333 E. 41st St., the grain elevator is one of about 800 tax-forfeited properties the county is anxious to get rid of, reports the Star Tribune, which notes the county holds one or two auctions a year for that very purpose.

The site has quite a story: it was built in the 1930s, has not functioned as a viable "agricultural site" for "some unknown time," has had its equipment picked over by "intruders," and is at the end of its useful life, according to a county report.

The Star Tribune points out an interesting passage in that report, which amounts to probably the most candid real estate listing a potential property buyer could hope to find:

"The condition of the site and buildings is such that it includes, but is not limited to, the following hazards: trip, fall, openings in floor, falling object, wet surface, uneven walking surface, atmosphere (oxygen deficient, contains poisonous gases or has harmful airborne particulates/dust), environmental, confined spaces, and limited or no lighting."

If that seems like a daunting laundry list of repairs, perhaps the "bargain basement" sale price of the property is enough to keep you interested. According to the Star Tribune, the county has set the minimum bid at $23,000 dollars.

Still Not Convinced?

You're probably asking yourself, "what in the world would I do with an abandoned grain silo, even one that's just $23,000?"

Look to Curt Marx for one compelling idea. According to a Minnesota Daily report from last year, the U of M Carlson School of Business student was aiming to transform the towering Bunge grain elevator in Minneapolis's Como neighborhood into an indoor rock-climbing gym. The campus paper said Marx was working with the property owner to lease the site to convert it into a climbing destination.

There's been no further report on Marx's effort since then, but perhaps the 41st St. site in Minneapolis will soon be in the hands of an equally visionary holder.

The auction will be held at the Hennepin County Government Center at 9 am, January 6.

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