The term “gated’ community can conjure up strong reactions and opinions. These opinions are probably the same that were expressed when a medieval developer put up the first moated castle. Some people envision a stereotype of elite aristocrats who intend to keep the “riff-raff” out of the neighborhood. Some simply see wealthy luxury home owners who are cowering in fear behind an elaborate security system, anxiously hoping that robbers will not find their treasure.
Here are some homes currently for sale in Bearpath, Eden Prairie, one of Minnesota’s premier gated communities:
Guardhouse and gate at Bearpath, Eden Prairie
I guess I don’t really have an opinion about these neighborhoods. One part of me worries that the gated neighborhood is just one more thing to divide us further along economic and racial lines. After all, these sorts of neighborhoods abound in South Africa and probably most of them were built during the horrible apartheid era. But, on the other side, my libertarian streak says that people ought to be able to live wherever and however they wish.
View through south fence of Bearpath
Having never lived in a gated community, I wonder if I would feel walled-in or isolated. But I am thinking that many people live in them because they simply want a carefree lifestyle; they may travel a lot and would worry less about something happening to the home when they are away. Others might just be interested in the private golf course that the community offers. Still others might just want to provide the safest possilbe environment for their children. As a parent myself, I could especially relate to this motive after reading the news about the two little boys who were recently abducted from Red Lake.
Some proponents say that the gate actually “creates community.” Maybe there is something to this argument. How many of your neighbors do you really know right now? Come to think of it, the only time my neighbor behind me will talk to me is when she is angry about my son hitting her wooden fence with a baseball. The next door neighbors are great, but I admit I don’t know too many other folks in the neighborhood.
In Florida and California, gated communities are “old hat.” Even the trailer parks are gated. However, even in California, some people have not adjusted to the concept. Some protestors expressed their opinions by creating ten foot high “viewing platforms” to peer into one of these communities!
Perhaps some of the critics of gated communities have themselves lived in condos or apartments with a security door (which basically creates a gated community without grass or trees inside of it.)
I started thinking about gated communities today because a newspaper columnist called me and asked me how many of these neighborhoods exist in Minnesota. I had to admit that I don’t know. The concept of fencing people out of the neighborhood is a little foreign to most Minnesotans. The concept is still a little foreign to me too. I grew up in South Minneapolis in an era when we could play flashlight tag in the neighboring alleys and our parents never worried about it. The term “gated community” is still so unfamiliar to the Minnesota lexicon that the Northstar Regional MLS database does not even have a drop-down field on the search screen containing “gated community.”
I knew of a few such neighborhoods, but was frustrated in my attempt to find a comprehensive list. I also wanted to find out a little more about what it costs to live in one of these neighborhoods. Browsing the internet would not guarantee that I would find them all, and, of course the search engine results often just contain national directories of out-of-state brokers and developers.
Clay Cliffe, Tonka Bay, Minnesota
Here is an incomplete list of gated communities that came to mind. Any additions to this list, opinions, or personal experiences that you could share would be welcomed additions to this post. I would be especially interested to learn if any moderately-priced gated neighborhoods are being planned for the Twin Cities or surrounding suburbs.
- Bearpath, Eden Prairie. Upscale community on an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Average sale price for Bearpath single family homes closed over the last three years is $1,243,977. There are also a number of townhome options available here.
- Clearwater Estates, Clearwater Minnesota. Average closed sale price is $174,021, which included a pretty even mix of twin homes and single family homes.*
- Clay Cliffe, Tonka Bay. Community on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. No recent sales history available.
- Stonebridge, Lilydale Minesota. Sales prices of these upscale townhomes averaged $615,600.*
- Pathfinder Village, Hinckley MN. Gated community of over 1,000 park model homes (a sort of anchored mobile home dwelling.) This is primarily a vacation community Inconclusive sales data is available, but some homes closed two years ago at about 50k. Pathfinder assocation is $700 per year and includes many family-oriented recreational opportunities.
- St. Andrew’s Village, Blaine MN. This is a new project with $600k+ ramblers. Homeowners will open the gate with a button that is sort of like a garage door opener. The community will contain about 60 homes when it is finished.
- Villas on the Boulevard, Coon Rapids MN. Gated community for 50+. Detatched home prices range from $220′s to $450′s
- The City of North Oaks. This city really isn’t a gated community anymore. The gates were taken down because the teenagers kept passing out the security codes. According to their webpage, they are trying to shed the image of “exclusive and affluent” and trying to replace it with “green.” It will be interesting to see if they try to shed that image when selling real estate there. Will words like “exclusive community” be used in marketing homes? Many upper bracket communities still use the word “exclusive” when marketing homes. It will be interesting to see what happens here. Prices average in the mid 800′s.
- Trophy Lake Estates, Pine Island. Upper bracket homes on a fully recreational lake
- New Germany MN. New development being planned by developer Grant Hustad will be centered around three man-made lakes well stocked with fish. Only one motorized boat will be allowed on the lakes at a time, and jet-skiis will be prohibited. This project is designed to attract upper bracket buyers. Lake lots will start at 250k, and total cost of some homes will reach $1M.
- Benishi Townhomes, Cass Lake Minnesota. Townhomes in the 300′s
*Data per Northstar Regional MLS statistics
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