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Brief timeline of the Riedele/Ernst home; Ess lot set for development

Jul 11, 2023Jul 11, 2023

German immigrant and former owner of the brickyard at the present-day Firemen’s Park site Andreas Riedele built in 1884 what is today known as the Riedele/Ernst House.

Originally located at 122 West 6th Street, it was the home for two generations of Riedele’s family.

“Andreas Riedele farmed, ran a Chaska grist mill, and operated the Railroad Hotel near the M & St. L Depot,” states a Chaska Walking Tour document. “His interests spread to a partnership in a brickyard west of his hotel. In 1884 he built this home adjacent to his brickyard. Two generations of the Riedele family lived here. When the Klein brothers bought Riedele’s brick business, they acquired the house.”

The home later became Ernst Associates, a landscape design firm, and was moved in 2015 next to the Ess Lot at 211 Walnut St after being acquired by the city to accommodate Firemen’s Park construction.

In the late 1880s, Joseph Ess built his family a home on what is today known as the Ess Lot at 217 Walnut St. The Ess House stood on the property until it caught on fire in 2014 and was ultimately demolished in 2017 after several grant applications to save it were rejected.

The home was once one of the 57 historic properties recognized by the city, the Chaska Herald previously reported.

Despite several attempts for revitalization of the lot and Ernst House over the years, it has sat vacant since its move.

A project headed by Talle & Associates, Inc. from 2018/2019 got as far as approval for a preliminary site and building plan, preliminary plat and rezoning for a seven residential rental unit development on the property, according to Chaska Planning Commission documents.

“The project did not move forward from preliminary approval, citing financing issues,” a document reads.

The Carver County Community Development Agency proposed a concept plan in January 2022 for the rehabilitation of the Ernst House and to build 3 new housing units on the property.

“Then in February of this year they did come back with their preliminary plan… after that point they did opt to withdraw their application at that time,” said Liz Hanson, Chaska city planner, at the April 17, 2023 Chaska City Council meeting. “They wanted to work on the lot layout as well as figure out a solution to eliminate the need for an HOA.”

The Chaska City Council approved the preliminary site and building plan at that same meeting on April 17.

The concept plan for the Ernst Home, as stated in a city council document from MacDonald & Mack Architects, is that it will become a three-bedroom home.

All of the four units on the property will have their own private yards, detached garages and surface parking.

“Units will be affordable and targeted towards households at 80% Area Median Income (AMI),” read the presentation slides from the April 17 meeting.

“We’re trying to do something pretty unique here on a pretty unique piece of property with a historic structure, as well as a unique piece of historic land, so there’s a lot of factors that go into this,” said Councilor Mike Huang at the meeting. “Appreciate all the work that everyone’s done on this to get it to this point.”

Final approval for this revised plan will be voted on in the June 26 Chaska City Council Meeting.

Information from this article comes from previous Chaska Herald coverage, “Chaska: A Minnesota River City, Prehistory to 1950” by LaVonne E Barac, various city documents and previous reporting from the Chaska Herald.

Final approval for the latest proposed plan will be voted on in the June 26 Chaska City Council Meeting.

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