Green and Mid-Priced in Eden Prairie

first_imgFour developers submit proposalsFour developers responded to the city’s request for proposals. City staffers interviewed the three most qualified firms and Homestead’s “Eden Gardens” got the preliminary OK. A formal plan with cost estimates is due in November, to be followed by public hearings. With city approval, construction could start in the spring.Homestead’s project manager, Tom Strohm, says it’s too soon to say exactly what features the houses would have to enhance energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water management and the like. But he said developers were planning to build houses so they could win advanced certification under Minnesota’s Green Path program.The program’s web site describes that as a “mid-level green certification” in which houses must have a HERS rating of no more than 60 plus win points for meeting certain energy efficiency and environmental standards. The houses would range in size from 1800 sq. ft. to 2400 sq. ft.The architect for the project is Whitten Associates of Minnetonka, Minn. Officials in a well-to-do community in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area hope they can spur the development of a neighborhood of green, energy-efficient homes with “midmarket” pricing attractive to young families.Eden Prairie, a city of about 60,000 a dozen miles southwest of Minneapolis, has informally selected Homestead Partners to develop 36 houses that would sell for between $240,000 and $360,000, according to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.That may not seem like a bargain-basement price to many people, but new homes in town often sell for $600,000, the newspaper said, and in August there were twice as many houses on the market selling for $456,000 and up as there for between $285,000 and $455,000.In Minneapolis, officials are pushing a plan to build green homes that sell for no more than $200,000, with help from a $1 million annual subsidy. In Eden Prairie, officials are trying to avoid putting public money into the program. Not everyone is thrilledSupport on the Eden Prairie City Council isn’t universal, according to the Star Tribune. City Councilor Brad Aho doubts the houses can be built at the projected prices, and he doesn’t like the idea the city will buy the property from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and then sell it to the developer.Neighbors also expressed concerns because what’s now a dead-end road would be extended to provide access to the new development, meaning more noise and traffic in an area where children now ride their bikes and play. And some worry that building less expensive houses next to their own would erode property values.“In an ideal world, we’d love to keep it undeveloped,” Kathryn Atterberry told the newspaper. “It’s why we bought the house we bought.”Should the property be developed, she said, there should be fewer, more expensive houses that better match what’s already there.One possible compromise would be to build a dozen market-rate houses on the fringes of the property, presumably to shield the neighborhood from lower priced houses toward the interior.last_img

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