Crews broke ground this month in Eden Prairie for a new high-end home development, Eden Prairie Woods, that is the final piece to the city's largest residential development in two decades.

After the housing market slowdown spurred smaller projects, Eden Prairie's latest 52-home project is part of a growing return to larger single-family projects across the Twin Cities, especially in suburbs like Eden Prairie that have room to grow.

In May, the metro area saw an 80 percent hike in single-family home permits compared to May 2011, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. Maple Grove reported seeing an increase the last two years in single-family permits, with 189 permits issued in 2011 and 66 so far this year.

"The market is telling us that there is a market out there and a certain price range that needs to be satisfied," said Mike Franzen, Eden Prairie city planner.

Over the past two years, Eden Prairie has seen scattered smaller residential projects across the city. But now, Franzen said, city planners are seeing larger projects like Eden Prairie Woods.

This year, the city has approved 23 single-family permits. That's up from 32 single-family permits total in 2011 and 34 in 2010.

Eden Prairie Woods is the final piece to the Hennepin Village project, a 250-acre mixed-use planned-unit development approved in 2001 that is the largest project in 20 years. The 52 homes, located on the southwest side of the city, will start selling in July priced in the mid-$600,000s and up.

Nearly 100 people are on an interest list, said the developer, Toll Brothers.

The homes will be located on 24 acres of a 70-acre area overlooking Riley Creek, off Eden Prairie Road and north of Flying Cloud Drive.

The 2.900- to 5,000-plus-square-foot homes will include luxury features such as two-story family rooms, gourmet kitchens and access to a park that includes a pool and hiking trails.

It's the largest of three developments in progress, adding 109 new single-family homes to Eden Prairie.

Two other projects are planned but not yet started -- 23 single-family homes in the Meadows development next to Eden Prairie Woods and 12 single-family homes in the adjacent High Point development.

Toll Brothers also has projects in Maple Grove and Eagan and is seeking properties elsewhere in the metro area, a spokeswoman said.

Eden Prairie also is home to UnitedHealth Group's new 1.5 million-square-foot office project on the northeast side of the city. The four buildings will house 6,500 employees starting in 2013.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141 Twitter: @kellystrib