ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (KMSP) - It's been a landmark for nearly 30 years, but now an iconic tree house is on its way down in St. Louis Park, Minn. It's attracted tourists and national attention because of its size, but also the struggle to keep it standing.
The owner, Mark Tucker, is a well-known character in the area because of the epic fights he's had with the city over the tree house in his back yard. Now, he said it's coming down because he's just tired of keeping it up to code.
“Everyone can see it from the street, it's overwhelming it's so big,” David Silverberg, owner of Frankel’s World of Judaica nearby, said.
Whenever customers ask Silverberg for directions to his business, he said would refer to the tree house -- “I say its Ottawa and Minnetonka. Where's that? Across from the tree house. Oh across from the tree house. Everybody knows.”
The tree house had seven levels of tiny rooms and balconies wrapped around a massive maple tree. It's been called an architectural marvel, but some neighbors referred to it as a distraction.
“It was cool when he first put it up, but it generated so much traffic that it was a nightmare,” neighbor Karla Larson said.
When the tree house first went up in the mid 80's, the St. Louis Park City Council said Tucker had to meet housing codes or remove it. So he fought in court. Then, multiple convictions came to light for housing code violations at his Minneapolis rental properties, which left him with a battered public image.
Tucker told Fox 9 that his kids are all grown up and maintaining the tree house was draining. So in August, the insurance salesman agreed to take it down, along with the controversy and notoriety that followed.
Only two levels of the iconic St. Louis Park tree house remain now. Tucker says he's trying to take it all down before it gets too cold, and the city says it will continue to work with him.