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St. Thomas will sell the Winton Guest House, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and moved several years ago to the university’s Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna.
The Board of Trustees voted last week to sell the house, and St. Thomas will contract with Wright, a Chicago and New York modern and contemporary design auction house, to handle the sale. Richard Wright, founder and principal, plans to place the house on auction May 19 in Chicago after an exhibition during Art Week in New York City.
The university faces an August 2016 deadline to move the house from its 180-acre Owatonna site, sold last summer to Meridian Behavioral Health Services. The New Brighton-based company renovated the Gainey property for use as an addiction treatment center, opening Beauterre Recovery Institute in January.
St. Thomas retained the ownership rights to the Winton Guest House but agreed to move the house. A committee led by Dr. Victoria Young, professor of modern architectural history and chair of the Art History Department, examined several options.
“One option was to move the house to the St. Paul or Minneapolis campus,” Young said, “but there was uncertainty about location because we are beginning a campus master planning process and could not commit to a specific site.
“We also studied whether an arts or cultural organization in the Twin Cities would be interested in taking over the house, or whether we should disassemble it and store it until we found the right location. In the end, St. Thomas decided the best option would be to sell the house.” ….