Walz family trades Summit Ave. for lakeside home during renovation

A house surrounded by leafy trees
The Walz family will move into this Sunfish Lake home ahead of planned multi-million dollar renovations at the official governor’s residence.
Courtesy of realtor.com

Politics, they say, makes strange bedfellows.

It takes on new meaning in the case of DFL Gov. Tim Walz and former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden. 

The Walz family will move into a Sunfish Lake home owned by McFadden, likely in May, ahead of planned multi-million dollar renovations at the official governor’s residence. The first family’s stay is to last into September 2024.

On Friday, the state signed an 18-month lease –— plus renewal options of up to three additional months — with MFM Properties II LLC, which has a Wisconsin mailing address. Total costs associated with the lease are $329,581, according to the Department of Administration.

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Walz does not own a residential property, according to state disclosure records. He and wife, Gwen, sold their Mankato house early in his first term and have called the Summit Avenue mansion their solo residence.

In January, the state’s property management agency began a search for temporary living quarters that could also play host to official ceremonial functions while the 110-year-old residence underwent fixes.

There were specific requests around security features and lease flexibility. The Department of Administration explored three potential properties before settling on the Sunfish Lake house.

The five-bedroom, nearly 8,000-square foot home is on a 3.5 acre lakeside lot. It comes at monthly rent of $17,326. The property, with a six-car garage, has been on the market for a few months for almost $2 million.

The house is a 15-minute drive from the state Capitol.

McFadden is a top executive at an investment company. He challenged then-Sen. Al Franken for re-election in 2014 and secured the Republican nomination.

Since his loss to Franken, who later resigned his seat, McFadden kept a low profile in politics aside from donations to GOP candidates and party-aligned political groups.

McFadden donated the $4,000 maximum to two challengers to Walz’s 2022 re-election, former state Sens. Scott Jensen and Michelle Bensen. 

McFadden didn’t return a phone call Friday, although the lease requires the landlord to “coordinate with and receive prior approval from the tenant on any external communications related to this lease.”

The Administration Department for the state, which is considered the tenant, is responsible for internet and cable service along with utilities. 

Under the lease terms, the McFaddens will remain responsible for the $19,770 in property taxes assessed this year.