After a decade on the market, the famed Southways estate is no more. The estate once belonged to the baking empire founder John S. Pillsbury Sr, but in 1992 it left the famed family’s hands. Now it’s gone for good. So what happened?
A Rich History
The estate, which stood about 20 miles from Minneapolis on Lake Minnetonka, was built in 1918. Designed by Harriet T. Lindeberg, it featured 6 buildings in addition to the main house. The mansion was a 36,000-square-foot stunner. With 7 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, the estate served as the summer home for Pillsbury and his wealthy guests.
The Minnetonka lakeshore—of which the estate claimed a private 415 feet—is host to several summer mansions. In fact, the home was featured on the cover of Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka ten years ago. The Pillsbury’s neighbors were once the Dayton family, who founded Target. These days, the area is still in-demand, but no one wanted the Pillsbury estate.
A Failed Flip
In 1992, when the family decided to sell the property, it was snatched up for $5 million by investor Jim Jundt. He put a fortune into updating and renovating the place, but his attempt to flip the estate did not pan out. Jundt listed the estate in 2007 for $53.5 million. At the time, it was Minnesota’s most expensive property.
Not even the spa, gym, tennis court, and 6000-bottle wine cellar could tempt anyone at that price. By 2013, the price had been slashed to $24 million. It’s possible that the upkeep on the estate along with property taxes of over $150,000 scared off potential buyers.
A Sad End
Eventually, Jundt admitted defeat. Despite the huge amount of money and care that went into the historic home, the estate was broken up into 5 parcels and sold for redevelopment. Although he was given a deadline of February 2019 to tear down the property, Jundt ordered the estate demolished at the end of August.
Despite its history and character, the Pillsbury estate was not on the National Historic Register. There was no legal reason to keep the property intact, but locals are nonetheless disappointed to see a local landmark gone for good. According to one onlooker, two massive cranes on either side razed the main house in seconds until only the final chimney was standing.
Looking to the Future
Now that Southways is gone, the site is ready for new construction. A total of 13 acres of property was divvied up into 5 homesites. No doubt the new homes built there will be stunning in their own way, but it’s hard not to feel a little sad that the right buyer couldn’t be found for the original estate.