Controversial Pillsbury-Snyder mansion conversion gets preliminary OK

The Pillsbury-Snyder mansion on Blaisdell Avenue in south Minneapolis was the residence of the Pillsbury family -- the home to survivors of the Titanic.

Now, a nonprofit named NuWay sees a second life for the aging and vacant house by giving alcohol and drug addicts a place to stay while undergoing treatment. But neighbors argue too many of those facilities are already concentrated in Whittier.

BACKSTORY -- Whittier opposes plan to convert historic Pillsbury-Snyder mansion

NuWay Executive Director David Vennes took us back in time today and gave us a tour of the mansion.

Last year, NuWay purchased the mansion, which features a gorgeous double marble staircase and priceless Honduran mahogany paneling, with the intention of turning it into a transitional housing facility for up to 47.

"These are recovering addicts and alcoholics that are just beginning their journey in recovery," Vennes says.

But some neighbors aren't happy about the idea and took their fight to City Hall. But while the City Council has yet to way in, staff and committees have so far green-lighted NuWay's plan.

NuWay also has the support of granddaughters of John and Nelle Pillsbury-Snyder, the Titanic survivors who called the mansion home.

Asked about Nuway's work, Helen Snyder Waldron says, "It's an important service."

"And my grandparents, as Helen stated before were philanthropic," she adds. "They originally donated the mansion."

NuWay promises to keep the historical integrity of the home intact if the project indeed receives final approval.

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