Lennar Minnesota – Stonehaven

Beginning in 2003, residents of Eagan, Minn., fought against a local developer’s plan to build approximately 480 homes on 121 acres, with 30 acres of open space, on the former site of a golf course. This disagreement continued until 2010, when city officials settled out of court and allowed the construction of a variety of homes on the space. 

The poor housing market, however, forced the original developer out of business, which allowed Lennar Homes to come in and present a new plan for the space. The city and its residents accepted Lennar’s plan, and last summer the nationwide homebuilder got busy on the first phase of its Stonehaven community. 

What allowed Lennar’s plan to pass relatively smoothly, while the other developer spent years fighting in and out of the courts for its plan? Lennar’s reputation for quality, value and operating with integrity within the Twin Cities market – and nationwide – was a huge factor.

“To their credit, Lennar has worked hard with neighbors to reduce housing density, plan walking trails and preserve relatively more open space,” Eagan Mayor Mike McGuire said in a statement. “They have proposed what should be an attractive development in Eagan for new and existing residents.”

Lennar’s Stonehaven community will be a multigenerational development with a variety of home styles for homeowners of all ages and income levels. On approximately 115 acres, Stonehaven will offer 363 housing units – single-family homes, town homes, twin homes and a senior center – as well as 36 acres of open space, a playground and a community amenity center with a pool. Lennar’s plan involves preserving many of the site’s trees, ponds and wetlands, in addition to adding nearly 4 miles of walkways that will connect to Eagan’s existing trail system. All homes built in Stonehaven will feature Lennar’s PowerSmart features, which embrace the natural surroundings of Stonehaven by being more energy efficient, conserving water and contributing to improved air quality. In addition, they use fewer environmental resources.

“This is really the last big plot of land in Eagan, and the city’s residents wanted a lifecycle community – they didn’t want a new development that would lower their home values or make a big impact on the area’s natural space,” explains John Aune, director of land operations for Lennar’s Minnesota division. Lennar held a number of meetings with local residents to address as many of their concerns as possible. One of the main problems was that the area already suffered from traffic congestion, and a new residential development would only make that worse. Lennar addressed that by changing the property’s street layout to benefit new and current residents. 

“The biggest element of Stonehaven is the community’s natural surroundings,” Aune says. “The previous developer’s plan had open space, but it was in the middle of the development, with the homes on the perimeter. We changed that and put the open space on the perimeter, so current residents’ backyards wouldn’t change. This property has a long history, but our development has gone fairly smoothly, because we’ve worked closely with the local residents.”

Long-Term Presence

Lennar is a leading national homebuilder and provider of financial services; it is active in 17 states and delivered more than 15,000 homes across America in 2009. In Minnesota, the company is active in 23 communities. The main homebuilders that have become part of the Lennar family – Orrin Thompson and Lundgren – have been building in the Twin Cities area since 1946, making Lennar the homebuilder with the longest presence in the market. The company’s builders have constructed more than 60,000 units in the Minnesota market, which has contributed to the company’s reputation for quality and value, according to Tim Fohr, marketing manager of Lennar Minnesota.

“In addition, over the years, we have listened to what our home­owners tell us they want and have been including such features as standard,” Fohr says. 

Stonehaven will have three areas with single-family homes: In the Woodlands section, homes will range from 2,600 to 3,300 square feet; the Highlands homes will span from 2,200 to 2,800 square feet; and the Preserves area will feature Active Adult-designed one-level twin homes sized from 1,400 to 2,300 square feet. Stonehaven’s Meadows area will feature 65 two-story, row-style town homes, and the community’s senior center will offer 100 housing units. Lennar will not be constructing the senior center because “that is not our area of expertise,” Aune notes. Although the construction schedule for Stonehaven depends on the homebuilding market, Lennar has planned for the community to be built in four phases: 

  • 2010 – Construction of 49 single-family homes from Lennar’s Landmark and American Heartland series; 
  • Spring 2011 – Development of more single-family home sites and construction of the Active Adult Parkway twin homes;
  • Spring 2012 – Addition of more single-family home sites and construction of the Colonial Patriot town homes; and
  • Spring 2013 – Development of single-family home sites. 

Fohr and Aune agree that Lennar’s reputation in Minnesota –and throughout the nation – is the result of its homes’ value and the level of customization that is available to homeowners. Lennar’s communities offer homes with a variety of elevations, materials, color packages and architectural elements. Additionally, through the company’s “Everything’s Included” program, each Stonehaven home will include options in the amenity package that are typically considered upgrades with other homebuilders. The company’s buying power ensures homeowners receive the best value.

“Lennar offers a great mix of designs and standards in the homes that today’s consumers expect to see,” Aune says. “We’ve also taken the lead on focusing on energy efficiency in our homes by the introduction of the Lennar PowerSmart home in 2010. All of our PowerSmart homes go through a third-party test for energy output and are part of the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program. By using efficient heating, cooling and plumbing systems, we save money for our customers and help the environment.”  Lennar’s PowerSmart homes come with the most up-to-date features such as home automation, improved indoor air quality, dual flush toilets and other water conserving features.  

‘Definitely On Par’

The area around Stonehaven is a “large employment center,” Aune says, in that it is part of a large, thriving community, and is located one mile from a major interstate and 12 miles from downtown Minneapolis. 

The community also has been designed to encourage residents to stay home, however, with the inclusion of a sledding hill, tot lot and a number of benches and educational signage along the trails where residents can learn about nature. Additionally, Stonehaven’s 2,700-square-foot clubhouse will include a game room, gathering room, pool and outdoor fire pit. Surrounding all of these features will be the community’s open space, which will be full of native grasses, wildflowers and trees.

With a combination of Stonehaven’s quality home design and construction, attractive natural surroundings and advanced amenities, there already is great interest in the community from potential buyers, Aune says, and Lennar is confident it will stay that way. Already, Lennar has sold a number of homes, with the model home just being completed in early March. Lennar has two operational model homes at the Stonehaven site, and once it completes the land development of the twin homes’ site this spring, it will build them this fall, along with a number of single-family homes. 

“Stonehaven will be a great community and it’s in a great location,” Aune stresses. “It is definitely on par with all of the other great communities that Lennar has throughout the Twin Cities area.” 

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