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The real estate agent behind the Prince property sales


Before founding his real estate company, Norton Realty Inc., he practiced law full time. From 2006 to 2012, he was a criminal prosecutor, first for the city of Minneapolis and then for Washington County. He got into real estate in 2007, as a way to make a ...


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By: Clare Kennedy December 18, 2017 7:02 am 0 Norton stands in the three-room recording studio located in the basement of the house at 2179 Red Fox CircleThe house is still on the market(Staff photo: Bill Klotz) Unlike his most famous client, the late Prince Rogers Nelson, Mendota Heights real estate agent Steve Norton is not a household nameSince the summer of 2016, Norton has been running point for the Prince estate, marketing the first batch of properties to be released by the Carver County District Court for sale. Prince died April 21, 2016, of an accidental overdose, leaving no willIn summer 2016, Bremer Trust, the initial administrator of Prince’s estate, chose Norton to sell six of Prince’s properties in Minnesota. He was one of three finalists considered for the job, said Bremer spokesperson Marcia Jensen. It’s a glamorous assignment, but by and large it has not put Norton’s name up in lights. Even among industry insiders, Norton is not particularly well-knownHe was only vaguely familiar to Cotty Lowry, the 2017 president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, who said that past president and jazz singer Emily Green may be more in the knowGreen, in turn, said she did not know Norton and was not tied into buzz about the Prince estate’s holdings. The house at 2179 Red Fox Circle is the only one of the six properties Norton was tasked with marketing that remains unsold(Staff photo: Bill Klotz) Likewise for Jesse Godzala, a real estate agent in Chanhassen whose office is one stoplight away from Prince’s most recognizable property, Paisley Park, which has been converted into a museumGodzala had not heard of Norton, and reported that the local talk about the music superstar’s holdings had been mutedOther than comments about the large amount of undeveloped land owned around Lake Ann, there was not much talk about it. “It is strange to me now that I think about it,” Godzala said. Norton’s best friend, Steve Povolny, said it’s unsurprising that Norton’s tie to the Prince estate is not common knowledgeHe’s not a flashy guySome of Norton’s personal acquaintances still don’t know about it. “He doesn’t really tell people about the Prince thingHis identity is not tied to stuff like that,” Povolny said. So who is Steve Norton? Like Prince, he is a native of the Twin Cities, and he hasn’t strayed far from home, apart from study abroad programs in Ireland. Norton is 39 and a family manHe and his wife, Angela, have two girls, aged 10 months and 2 yearsHe is a Mendota Heights resident and served one term on the City Council from 2013 through 2016. He grew up in Cottage Grove, son of a teacher and Marine who flew helicopters in VietnamHe attended StThomas Academy in Mendota Heights during high schoolHe did his undergraduate studies in political science and English at StJohn’s University in Collegeville, followed by a law degree at what was then known as the William Mitchell College of Law. Povolny met Norton during law schoolHe describes Norton as a man of unstinting integrity, an avid golfer and rigorous grammarian(“He doesn’t correct me in front of other people.”) Before founding his real estate company, Norton Realty Inc., he practiced law full timeFrom 2006 to 2012, he was a criminal prosecutor, first for the city of Minneapolis and then for Washington County. He got into real estate in 2007, as a way to make a little money and aid another side business of his, renovating and flipping homesAt first it was a part-time gig, doing deals for friends and friends of friendsReal estate soon became an absorbing interest and began looking better than his day job. “It very quickly takes your life overI just wasn’t happy with the work-life balance I had [as a criminal prosecutor],” Norton said“I was working a lot of hours for not a lot of payAnd, I found out I would rather work on my own than for someone else.” He quit law in 2012 to focus on real estate full timeHe was urged on by Povolny, who is also a lawyer and was then his superior at Washington County. “During his time there he tried and won more lawsuits than any other attorney thereHe’s been very good at anything he set his mind to do,” Povolny said“He loved being a lawyer, but I encouraged him to leave for real estateHe’s just a natural at it.” Povolny said that Norton has been on at least one side of the deal for almost every house on his street in Inver Grove Heights, including Povolny’s own 17-acre lakeside property. Norton works out of a home office in Mendota Heights. These days, his firm is a full-fledged operation with five agents apart from himselfHe is in the process of buying his first office building, a one-story structure that sits near the border of Mendota Heights and West StPaulRecently, his annual gross sales have totaled around $22 million, and most of his clients now can be described as high-net-worth, though not famous. All but one of the Prince properties has sold, a four-bedroom, four-bath home at 2179 Red Fox Circle in ChanhassenNorton is not sure how much is left in the estate’s portfolio, though he estimates that there are around 20 properties. The assignment has not had a noticeable effect on his agencyLikewise, it’s business as usual with his client list. “I don’t think I’m becoming a celebrity magnet yet,” Norton said. Norton could not comment on whether or when the estate may put more property on the market, and he doesn’t know if he will be the one chosen to sell the next round. “It’s fair to say I hope to be involved,” Norton said. Related: Prince site in Chanhassen sells for $700K Like this article? Gain access to all of our great content with a month-to-month subscriptionSPECIAL: Start your subscription with our low intro rate of just $14.95.  Share this:PrintFacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogle 7:02 am Mon, December 18, 2017 Finance & Commerce Clare Kennedy Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be publishedRequired fields are marked *Comment Name *Email *Website   #submit {display:none;} Latest Posts Home buyer takes time to make $8.3M deal in Orono December 18, 2017 4:35 pm Boomers, millennials in race for Twin Cities homes December 18, 2017 4:01 pm Consumer Attorneys Target Filers of Mechanic’s Liens: How to Avoid Getting Sued August 22, 2017 2:30 pm Appeals court clears way for large hog farm in SE Minnesota December 18, 2017 3:26 pm About Clare Kennedy Clare is a native of Tampa, FlaShe joined Finance & Commerce in February 2017 to cover economic development. 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