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Cummins Grill House, Smith Douglas More House and adaptive re-use
More on the Cummins Grill House, Smith Douglas More House and adaptive re-use.
In November 23, 2004, the City Council adopted a policy for the
1879 Cummins Grill House and property which would permit partnering with the private sector to adapt the structure for commercial use while respecting its historic, architectural character. Although the Cummins Grill homestead has been a popular site for a variety of heritage-based events including October’s Sunbonnet Day, the ongoing expense of keeping the house in good repair and the promise of repeating the success of the adaptive re-use as a coffee salon of the 1877 Smith Douglas More House helped shape the Council’s policy for the Staring Lake Park structure.

Adaptive re-use principles were applied in a joint venture by the City and Dunn Brothers Coffee for the restoration of the Smith Douglas More House on Eden Prairie Road a bit north of the Southwest Regional Trail. That building is now part of a larger coffee-sandwich restaurant. Adaptive re-use principles are applied by developers to preserve a structure’s historic, architectural integrity while enabling it to function for modern purposes. The Cummins Grill House which is located along ever busy and soon-to-be widened Pioneer Trail opposite Flying Cloud Airport could have a fairly high appraisal value as a commercial property

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON FUTURE OF THE CUMMINS GRILL HOUSE (condensed from an informational brief provided to the council by the Parks Director prior to its February 21, 2006 meeting.

At a November 9, 2004, workshop, the City Council discussed the future of the Cummins-Grill Homestead. The Council reviewed options for the future of the house that ranged from completing the renovation of the house with City funds to raising [demolishing] the house. After weighing their options, the City Council asked staff to prepare a policy for them to adopt at their November 23, 2004 Council meeting that would direct City staff to accomplish the following two policy preferences:

1. The City will open a dialog with the National Parks Service to seek relief from the encumbrances placed on the property to the City’s acceptance of LAWCON Grant Funds for the original acquisition of the property. This will include the purchase and preservation of comparable park or open space property in another location within our park and open system. Staff will identify prospective properties for purchase and begin to negotiate potential acquisition agreements. 2. The City will actively seek out potentially private sector commercial adaptive reuse prospects for the house. Staff will endeavor to negotiate an arrangement that leases rather than sells the house to a private party. The private use of the property will be required to renovate and maintain the property’s historic character. Staff would prefer an arrangement with a private party that maximizes the private funding of the renovation of the
house. The City Council does not desire to raise or remove the house
from the Cummins-Grill Homestead [the land surrounding the house].

The Council was unanimous in its support of a policy that would replicate the success of the Dunn Brothers renovation of the Smith-Douglas-More House
at the Cummins-Grill Homestead. On November 23, 2004, the City Council
approved the policy. City staff initiated a request for conversion of the property with the Department of Natural Resources. This process was temporarily delayed with the City failed to obtained grant money to acquire the Picha property and the City Council decided not to acquire the property that was for sale adjacent to Riley Lake Park.

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