Construction on a first-of-its-kind energy-efficient, high-density housing development in Eden Prairie will begin next month.
The project, Eden Gardens, has been in the works for more than a year and got final approval last week from the City Council. Crews plan to break ground in September, with the homes opening by early 2015.
The development near Hwy. 212 will be the first of its kind in the Twin Cities to be certified as "advanced" under the Builders Association of the Twin Cities' Green Path program. Developer Homestead Partners says that the 36 homes will have "green" features such as efficient windows and improved insulation, and they will also be built to be "solar ready," allowing residents to easily retrofit them with solar panels. Rain gardens and other features will help the homes conserve energy and water.
All the homes have already been reserved by interested residents, though all may not qualify as buyers. The homes will range from $330,000 to $599,000 — with 16 higher-priced, "market-rate" homes on the perimeter to blend in with the adjacent Fairfield neighborhood, while the remaining 20 homes will be "midmarket."
At public meetings on the project, neighbors expressed concern about the increased noise and traffic that may come from squeezing 36 homes onto the vacant 8-acre site. Some worried those issues and the lower-priced homes could decrease their property values.
"It's been a long, long haul," said Jeff Schoenwetter of JMS Custom Homes, the builder for the development. "It's taken us longer to get the project approved than it will take to build it."