This billionaire is buying up homes in Duluth — and bashed 'small-minded community' for questioning her plans

This billionaire is buying up homes in Duluth — and bashed 'small-minded community' for questioning her plans

This billionaire is buying up homes in Duluth — and bashed ‘small-minded community’ for questioning her plans

Kathy Cargill — wife of billionaire heir James Cargill II of the eponymous global food giant — has been spending millions of dollars buying up homes around Duluth’s sandbar.

However, residents in Minnesota’s port city responded with concern, as fears over what Cargill plans to do with the properties — and how it might affect the local supply of single-family housing and their taxes. The unease only worsened after Cargill demolished a few of the homes, telling a local reporter they were “pieces of crap” and she “couldn’t imagine living in any of them.”

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For her part, Cargill, who collects cars in addition to homes, hasn’t been thrilled with the outcry from locals.

“The good plans that I have down there for beautifying, updating and fixing up Park Point park or putting up that sports court, forget it,” Cargill told The Wall Street Journal.

“There’s another community out there with more welcoming people than that small-minded community.”

Duluth mayor says city has a ‘housing crunch’

Duluth mayor Roger Reinert penned a letter last month to Cargill, requesting she reveal her plans for the Park Point real estate.

“You may also be aware that we have an acute housing crunch currently within the city of Duluth,” Reinert wrote in the note, which he shared with city councilors, according to The Star Tribune. “Any loss of residential housing is not helpful.”

Nearly a third of all Duluth renters are “severely cost-burdened” — spending more than half their income on housing, according to The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Cargill’s North Shore LS, LLC, has acquired more than 20 properties in the Park Point area, with many selling for at least double their estimated value. It also purchased about half of all the single-family homes sold on Park Point last year — with the median price of the sold homes at around $477,000.

The mayor also said on social media that the area’s parkland, beach and street access points would remain public and noted homeowners can also choose not to sell their properties to Cargill.

But Cargill told the Journal she didn’t think it was anyone’s business what she did with her real estate investments. She said she intended to construct homes for some of her relatives, add small-scale natural areas and improvements to the city park, open a coffee shop, and build a complex for pickleball, basketball and street hockey.

“I think an expression that we all know — don’t pee in your Cheerios — well, [Reinert] kind of peed in his Cheerios right there, and definitely I’m not going to do anything to benefit that community,” Cargill said.

The day after the article was released, Reinert posted a photo of his breakfast on X, with the caption, “For the record . . . I’m more of a pancakes guy. #IYKYK.”

Read more: Generating ‘passive income’ through real estate is the biggest myth in investing — here’s how you can do it in as little as 5 minutes

What this means for Duluth

Many wealthy investors, like Cargill, have been hunting for properties, especially affordable single-family homes, to add to their portfolios and build equity.

Longtime resident 90-year-old Brooks Anderson told the Duluth News Tribune he’s watched many homes in the neighborhood get replaced with mansions or spawn vacation rentals, creating a “part-time playground for rich folks.”

While Anderson believed Cargill had good intentions, he was also surprised by her recent comments.

“This is my piece of crap, and I love it,” he told the Journal. “I hope she regrets saying that.”

Although Cargill has apparently axed her plans for modernizing the area, she doesn’t plan on leaving. She says she’s still receiving calls from folks who are selling their homes and might even add some more sandbar properties to her portfolio.

“We’re going to make it even more private than it is, and we’re still going to go enjoy it,” she said. “Those people aren’t running me out. They can posture themselves all they want, but I’m not going anywhere.”

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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