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What it's like trying to sell the largest home for sale in Minnesota

Weichert Realtors Advantage

Weichert Realtors Advantage

Let's rattle off some eye-popping numbers about Minnetrista's Hawks Nest castle, the largest single-family home currently for sale in Minnesota:

  • 22,376: total square footage
  • 19 (!): bathrooms
  • 8: bedrooms
  • 9: fireplaces
  • 292: days on the market
  • $9.9 million: current asking price, which was slashed by $1.2 million last July

With a house this massive at this elite price tier, the marketplace for potential buyers is extremely small, says listing agent Mark LaQua.

So far, more than half of the homebuyers interested in 3465 C.R. 44 have come from outside the U.S., he says, something that's common with palatial properties on Lake Minnetonka. One individual asked LaQua's team at Weichert Realtors Advantage for helicopter-buying pointers in the Twin Cities (Hawks Nest's 2.2-acre lot boasts two helipads). 

“It’s labeled as a castle, and the characteristics of it truly reflect that," LaQua says. "When we work with executive clientele, they look for uniqueness -- size isn’t the only concern.”

Built in 1989 but styled after 18th-century English manors, Hawks Nest is too modern and updated to be considered a teardown like the storied Southways estate across the lake, LaQua says (sadly, Southways met the wrecking ball last year). Some local buyers have expressed interest in housing multiple generations inside the castle, he says, but nobody has suggested re-zoning the building for alternative uses. 

One of the main issues keeping the potential buyer pool so shallow: having the means to keep up a property of this colossal scale. 

"Sometimes people bite off more home than they maybe should, and the frustration is usually because they’re ill-equipped to manage and take care of the property," LaQua says. "As long as you have the right connections for contractors and carepeople, it’s a pretty nice life."

Location is a major draw. One-percenters from around the globe are attracted to the Twin Cities' Fortune 500-rich business economy, LaQua says. Plus, even if you only live there for six non-frozen months, a flyover mansion is a relative bargain considering what you'd pay on the coasts. 

Hawks Nest certainly isn't lacking in the over-the-top amenities department. The estate features a cavernous fourth-story ballroom, a game room, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a locker room, a sauna, two attached caretaker apartments, an industrial HVAC system that controls 40 separate zones, 190 feet of shoreline, a seven-stall garage, and a 15-foot stone entrance gate -- whew! 

The strangest selling point? The cobblestone driveway was apparently sourced from outside the U.S. Capitol building, one of Abraham Lincoln's literal stomping grounds. The home's original owners, William and Karen Hawks, hosted potential war criminal Dick Cheney for a Michele Bachmann fundraiser in 2006.

Businessman Blake Rice purchased the place for $4 million in 2011, according to county records. His family loves Hawks Nest, but they're ready to "take on a new venture," LaQua says. 

Enjoy this photo tour, courtesy of Weichert Realtors Advantage.