Waterfront parcel in Duluth goes unsold during county land auction


A record value of state-owned, tax-forfeited northern Minnesota land was auctioned off Thursday in Duluth – though some of the biggest parcels went unclaimed, meaning they're now available for a set price.

There were 36 different parcels in St. Louis County up for auction, with their appraised value (which also served as the minimum bid) ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to just a few hundred bucks.

The total value of these properties? $1.5 million, the highest total value ever offered by the county's Land and Minerals Department in such an auction, FOX 21 says.

Click here to see a full list with prices and details. The auction started at 10 a.m. at The Depot, 506 W. Michigan St. in Duluth.

The priciest (and arguably flashiest) was a $749,500 undeveloped parcel on the harbor-facing side of Duluth's Park Point neighborhood. It's about 3.1 acres next to St. Louis Bay, and has a mix of tree cover plus sand beach. Here is the general area selected on a map – but click here for a more exact look at the lot.

The director of the county's Land and Minerals Department told the Duluth News Tribune it's the first time a Park Point parcel has been up at such an auction.

But Dana Kazel, a communications manager for St. Louis County, says it did not sell at the auction. It will now be available for the appraisal price, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Details are coming later this afternoon, Kazel says.

All the land up for auction was at one time owned by someone – but that owner, at some point, stopped paying taxes, and the state took control of it. That usually takes about seven years of not paying, and only happens if the owner doesn't try to settle the debt, the Duluth News Tribune notes.

Here are some of the other properties that were up for a bid.

$28,000 – 6.01 acres in North Shore neighborhood

The properties list describes this as an "irregularly shaped" and "nicely wooded" parcel located in Duluth's North Shore neighborhood. It's billed as being within walking distance of Lake Superior – though it requires crossing Superior Street and Congdon Boulevard before reaching the shore.

$131,000 and $83,000 – Morgan Park neighborhood

There are two properties up for bid in Duluth's Morgan Park neighborhood. The more expensive (labeled as "6" on the map) is 2.41 acres – the eastern half is zoned for mixed-use, while the western half is zoned for residential traditional.

The other, less expensive option (labeled "7") is a "large, irregularly shaped parcel," right next to the northern entrance to the neighborhood. It's a lot bigger too – nearly 38 acres.

$40,000 – Alborn Township, with a creek

A 40-acre parcel of land west of Alborn Township (between Floodwood and Independence), with a portion of Spider Creek running through it. A couple catches: First, there is no known legal access. The county asks you respect private property and get permission to view it. Second, the deed issued for this parcel will include a conservation easement of 66 feet from the top of the stream bank on either side of Spider Creek to provide riparian protection and angler access.

$21,500 – 2-story home in Hibbing

Located right in the city of Hibbing, this is a two-story home that was in the process of being remodeled. On the first floor, it has space for a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and two bedrooms. The second floor contains an area for two additional bedrooms and a bathroom. Check it out here with Google Street View.

$400 – White Township

The cheapest of the bunch. This is a "non-conforming parcel" totaling about 0.07 acres in White Township, just southwest of Hoyt Lakes. It's grassy, and is restricted by a driveway and power line. It also doesn't meet current residential zoning standards.

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