Good schools, a range of housing, improved highways, shopping, recreational opportunities — if you’re looking for a home in the southwestern suburbs, Eden Prairie and Chanhassen can probably meet your needs.
Eden Prairie is older than Chanhassen and closer to Minneapolis, and its housing is generally more expensive. Its earliest developments, dating from the 1980s and 1990s, are starting to turn over as empty nesters downsize and younger families move in. Split-level homes are a draw for millennials, according to Heather Dawe, an agent with ReMax Results in Eden Prairie.
“The younger generation love the split entry,” Hawe said. “They love to entertain, [and it has] lots of living space.”
Families flock to Eden Prairie for its eponymous public high school, which outperforms state averages in both math and English, according to the U.S. News & World Report high school rankings. The school is also widely known for its sports programs. Eden Prairie is also home to the International School of Minnesota, a private college-preparatory school, with students and staff representing more than 40 countries and 30 languages. In addition to being a commuter hub, the city has a number of technology companies within its boundaries.
Best place to live
Not to be outdone by its next-door neighbor, Chanhassen ranked no. 7 in Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in 2015. Many of Chanhassen’s existing homes date from the 1990s and 2000s, slightly newer than those in Eden Prairie. Chanhassen still has open space, plus 90 miles of trails, 12 lakes and five beaches. Just four miles across the western border in Chaska lies the 1,137-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Chanhassen High School, which opened in 2009, is also a draw for families, according to Samantha Hancock, an agent with ReMax Advantage Plus in Chanhassen. Money Magazine liked Chanhassen for some of the same reasons Hancock does, including its small-town feel.
“In Chanhassen, you still have neighborhoods that are real neighborhoods, where kids are running outside,” Hancock said. “It’s a great place to live.”
Both communities have some new developments going up. In Eden Prairie, Pulte Homes is building single-family homes in the Reeder Ridge development, while Toll Brothers is doing the same in Eden Prairie Woods.
Chanhassen, having more open space, has more new homes available. Castle Gate Construction is building single-family homes in the Preserve at Bluff Creek. Gonyea Homes is building single-family homes in the Vistas at Bentz Farm.
Lennar Homes is offering single-family homes and one-story townhouses in its Camden Ridge development. Ron Clark Construction is attracting empty nesters to the townhome villas in its Lakeside development around Lake Riley.
The cities share natural amenities along their common border. Lake Riley, Rice Lake and Rice Marsh Lake overlap municipal boundaries. As neighbors, these cities epitomize the march of development in the western suburbs while preserving the natural areas that people love. Even more families might seek homes there if the Southwest Light Rail line is approved to provide rapid transit to downtown Minneapolis, according to Hawe.
“I think the two communities were developed at a time when people were thinking about outdoor activity, so they were well-planned to connect into things,” she said. “And the light rail could be coming down the pipe real soon, which would also be a benefit to the communities.”