Unpermitted Rehab

EDIT #2: To delve further into the drama of 2320 Colfax, see our timeline.

EDIT: Some background for those who aren’t closely following Wedge neighborhood drama. Last week, Nicole Curtis had a Facebook freakout, distributed to her 500,000 fans, over the removal of siding on a house located at 2316 Colfax (in preparation for demolition). Nicole is an HGTV personality who remodels homes all over Minneapolis. She’s also the celebrity friend of the Wedge’s collection of anti-density activists (MRRDC, Healy Project, Team Tuthill, etc). She’s been especially critical of a plan to demolish the houses at 2316 and 2320 Colfax to make way for an apartment building. If you have a house vigil, she’ll bring a camera crew. She says things like, “Uptown needs another apartment building like a hole in the head.” 

Everyone and their mother was having Fred Sanford-style heart attacks last week over the Wedge’s most notorious homeowner, Mike Crow, doing work (let’s call it “de-hab”) on 2316 Colfax without a weekend permit. It got me thinking that I could make a name for myself, and graduate from fake journalist to nosy neighbor, by taking down a permit scofflaw.

Does this guy have a permit for being an unbearable jerk?

So I headed downtown. After going to three different government buildings–and speaking with every security guard, every sheriff’s deputy, and every no-nonsense older lady behind every information desk–I finally had a clue. A stranger handed me a piece of paper. I made a few phone calls; a source told me that this coded message was actually an address.

I knew this had to mean something.

I went up to the third floor, where I could hear the distinctive voice of everyone’s favorite fourth-ring suburbanite, City Planner John Smoley, advising people on city planning type stuff. I stepped up to the counter, asked a few questions and gave the nice woman an address. She brought some information up on her screen.

“Isn’t this the lady from that home rehab TV show? Nicole Curtis? You’d think she would know better.” She laughed as she said it. I asked her to print the information for me.

Unpermitted rehab.

From my limited understanding, the code “DBLE FEE” indicates someone has started work without a permit. For the property pictured above, we have a new garage door, removal of a bearing wall in the basement, and some basement plumbing work.

Another property I checked on was on 25th Ave N, which Nicole features on her website.

New stoop.
Water piping.
At this point, I had seen too much. It was all I could stomach. I had visions of dead renters filling the basements of all of Nicole’s properties from Minneapolis to Detroit. So I gave up and went home. Imagine what a real journalist could find.

A previous version of this post contained images with un-blurred house numbers. I regret the mistake.