A Minneapolis-launched music star just put a piece of St. Paul history on the market.
Paul Robb, a founding member of hitmaking synth-pop group Information Society, is selling 260 Maiden Ln., the former St. Paul carriage house of railroad tycoon J.J. Hill that's been converted into a spectacular condo.
Asking price for the 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 3,930-square-footer: $949,000.
“There’s nothing like it in the Twin Cities,” says Edina Realty listing agent Mary Hardy. “For someone that wants a total one-of-a-kind property that’s very private, it’s an ideal spot. It’s just an intriguing place.”
Among its eye-popping features: a massive equine-accommodating copper door, wall of windows overlooking a 1,250-square-foot private courtyard (“it was used for exercising for the horses,” Hardy says), original brickwork and tack cabinets, library, and lofted master bedroom with a woodstove.
Built in 1891, the carriage house is located on a cobblestone road across Summit Avenue from the J.J. Hill House, which was acquired by the Minnesota Historical Society in 1978. Typically, carriage houses are built behind the main home, but the Hill House’s bluffy plot of land couldn't facilitate that, site manager Craig Johnson once told the Pioneer Press. Hill called the structure his “city barns,” Johnson says.
“James J. Hill was a very economical fellow,” Hardy says. “There are doors, woodwork, and bricks from his original downtown house that he used in the carriage house. He was an original recycler.”
The carriage house had become “derelict” by the '70s, Hardy says, when it was subdivided into four condos. An architect purchased and rehabbed the unit that’s currently for sale, living there until Robb scooped it up for $845,000 in 2015, according to county records.
Robb, who scored a big hit with Information Society’s 1988 Leonard Nimoy-sampling song “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy),” has enjoyed a successful career composing music for TV shows (notably South Park), films, and ads.
It's currently a bizarre time for... basically everything, including selling real estate.
"We’re continuing to show properties, but we take extreme precautions -- turn all the lights on, open all the doors, we ask people if they’re sick," Hardy says, adding that social distancing practices are also observed.
Let's take a 100 percent safe photo tour of Robb's place, courtesy of Virtuance and Edina Realty: