Yet another twist is in store for the 1979 avant-garde structure that has caused its share of neck-craning on Dodge Street.
Built with eye-catching passive solar technology for its original Montessori preschool tenant, the structure later sold to an architect who remodeled it as his home and studio. The building appeared on HGTV and won prominent architectural awards before its conversion into a rental home.
Today, an auction sign is planted at the 6704 Dodge St. site — and only its future owner knows for sure what its next life will be.
Judging by the greater-than-anticipated interest so far, Scott Brown and Rob Luellen of Quantum Real Estate expect no shortage of people at the March 2 auction that will be at 2 p.m. at the house and will result in a sale “regardless of price.”
The highest pre-auction bid the brokers receive will be the opening price, so Brown and Luellen said it will go for at least $100,000.
Why the unusual sales method? “An auction is the best method for selling a one-of-a-kind or unusual property that has a great location and can achieve market value in a short period of time,” said Brown.
Besides, the brokers said, they are into commercial real estate. “We are used to working with large businesses where the decision-making is based on financials and not emotion, so we wanted to make this a similar transaction,” Luellen said.
Both brokers have a small ownership interest in the white-stucco property, along with other family members who want to get out of the day-to-day management.
They have set up a website and scheduled five open houses from Feb. 16 to March 2 so buyers can see and ask about the 1,539-square-foot structure.
Designed by K. Scott Findley in the late 1970s, the building's passive solar technology dictated its form and orientation on the half-acre lot across Dodge Street from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Architect Randy Brown bought the structure in 1994 and transformed it into a contemporary combination of home and office, earning a Record Interior National Design Award from Architectural Record, the journal of the American Institute of Architects.
In 1996, the Nebraska chapter of the American Institute of Architects chose it as one of six winners in the Honor Awards Design Competition.
Architect Brown lived with his wife and worked in the building until 2000, when he hired more employees and needed more office space. It then became an investment shared by Randy Brown; his father, Paul Brown; brother Scott Brown; and brother-in-law Rob Luellen, who rented it out over the years.
One recent resident was an artist, who Luellen said showcased sculptures along Dodge Street as a form of advertising. Students have lived there also, and most recently a young couple leased the place.
Luellen and Brown suspect a live-work residence would be the perfect scenario for the space. But they also could see a home and limited day care combination, or perhaps an administrative satellite for the nearby church or UNO. A zoning change might be required for a heavier commercial use.
The property is assessed for tax purposes at $193,000. But who, the brokers asked, can foresee the value someone might put on its Dodge Street frontage, or architectural award-winning history?
“We're going to have a lot of fun with it,” said Luellen.