Ready for “Surban” living? Where you can find it in the Twin Cities

The demand for walkable urban neighborhoods has been strong for years, but the newest trend is shifting to SURBAN living… a suburban area with the feel of urban living, including walkability, great restaurants/coffee shops and great retail. Not only Millennials, but also downsizing 55+ are drawn to this new wave of growth for the same reasons.

Urban areas are loved for their walkability, innovative restaurants, nearby entertainment and public transportation. But as urban home prices and rents rise and Millennials start to raise families the lure of lower prices, lower crime and higher ranking schools is motivating a nationwide wave of movement to the suburbs… albeit somewhat reluctantly for those who don’t want to give up the amenities of urban living. Enter “Surban” living… the wave of future development.

The “Surban” wave has been gradually building in the Twin Cities over the past decade or so as people were also embracing urban living. Now many ‘urbanites’ are becoming ‘surbanites’… where the blend of urban and suburban living provides the best of both worlds.

Excelsior & Grand in St. Louis Park was an early urban village, built in 2003. It was the site of the first Trader Joe’s in the Twin Cities, and is right on Wolfe Park with an amphitheater for summer performances. With grocery stores, medical facilities, shopping and restaurants all nearby as well as a central town square it has an urban feel in the suburbs… close to city lakes, with easy access to downtown Minneapolis and Highway 100.

Silver Lake Village in the first-ring suburb of Saint Anthony Village was another early adopter of this concept in 2004 when they converted the old Apache Plaza, the second enclosed shopping mall in Minnesota, to a mixed use development including shopping, condos, apartments, townhouses, senior living… all on a public transportation corridor with easy access to both downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

West End in St. Louis Park is another “Surban” development, with grocery store and movie theater anchors and a focus on restaurants and boutique shopping. It opened just in time for the recession so development was delayed, but apartments are now joining the mix. When Showplace Icon theater opened in 2009, I believe it was the first Twin Cities movie theater to offer reserved seating. I remember at our first visit an usher escorted us to our seats… even carried our popcorn!

The Promenade of Wayzata is a another “Surban” development built on the site of a former shopping mall. This new fashion, food and fun district was built on the site of the old Bay Center Mall, close to the shores of Lake Minnetonka and the shopping and restaurants of Water Street. This luxury complex has a mix of senior housing, condos and apartments, with shops and restaurants on ground level. Rather than catering to Millennials, this development was developed for the 55+ market, to provide a walkable area that could become “the most lavish pedestrian environment in all the Twin Cities.”

The Edina Promenade and surrounding neighborhood has been on the cutting edge since Southdale became the first covered shopping mall in 1956 and 7500 York was built as the first senior cooperative in the country. It continues to re-invent itself, and I think it is the most complete example of “Surban” living in the metro… incorporating condos, apartments, townhouses, shopping, restaurants, medical and other services, movie theaters, playgrounds, parks and trails around Centennial Lakes. It has a wide range of facilities and housing for all ages and price ranges, from luxury to more affordable.

There is a move away from suburban sprawl to more dense communities in suburban settings. The new name is “surban”… where the blend of urban and suburban living provides the best of both worlds.

Contact us to learn more and explore properties in these settings.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – Surban Realtor

HomesMSP Team – Sharlene, John, Angela


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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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