Duluth's historic Oliver G. Traphagen House has been burned by arsonists, burgled by crooks and seen its antiques sold at auction in the past eight months. Now it's been sold.
Commercial real estate broker Greg Follmer confirmed Friday that the building at 1509-1511 E. Superior St. has been sold by longtime owner Howard Klatzky to private developers.
"They don't have a plan, but do have the ability to redevelop it," said Follmer, who represents the property group, 1511 E. Superior LLC. "They're still trying to figure out what they can do with it."
Klatzky had owned the building since 1987, when he renovated the then-95-year-old building and installed his HTK Marketing Communications business. Now retired, with his former agency sold and relocated to Canal Park, he has sold the property rather than restore it again.
Real estate records indicate Klatzky received $1,000 for the property. He had been trying with Follmer to sell the building for $750,000 at the time of the fire that ravaged the building last August; the fire was determined to be caused by arson. Duluth Fire Marshal Marnie Grondahl told the News Tribune earlier this month that no suspects had been identified in the case.
The three-story, 9,200-square-foot Traphagen House was built in 1892, designed by renowned architect Oliver Traphagen for his personal use. Mining magnate Chester Congdon purchased the home five years later and the Congdon family lived there until Glensheen Mansion was completed in 1908.
Follmer said the new ownership group "believes it has an intrinsically valuable property and they wanted it even not knowing what the restoration costs are going to be on that."
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning any restoration work will require "a big planning process," Klatzky told the News Tribune in December.
The mansion could still be torn down, Follmer said, should it prove economically unviable to restore it.