Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ April 2010

This is the Land of 10,000 Lake and millions of trees. We take our environment seriously. Read on to learn about environmentally friendly news that happened recently around the Twin Cities and Minnesota!

Anoka County Highway Department is working on ways to get fewer people driving on Highway 65 in Blaine. The county has received a $7 million Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration to improve mass transit on the corridor. With $1.5 million in matching money, the county has issued a request for proposals for consultants to help create a plan to ferry nine busloads of commuters from Blaine's northern edge into downtown Minneapolis and back.

Also in Anoka County, employees may have saved a few jobs by saving energy (and money). First, lights were dimmed. Utility costs at the government center were reduced by $58,000 in 2009. In 2010, the county is expected to save more than $65,000. Next, Facilities Management and Construction team is changing the heating and cooling set-points in county building from 70/73 to 68/74. That means the heat will kick in at 68 degrees rather than 70 in the winter and the cooling system will trigger on at 74 degrees rather than 73 during the summer. Each degree of change will result in a 3% savings to the annual utilities budget of $720,000. The facilities management and construction team also has turned off most of the government center's lobby lights. The idea is to use natural daylight for lobby activities.

Mulroy’s Body Shop at the corner of 39th Street and Nicollet Avenue in Southwest Minneapolis has the largest array of solar panels in the Twin Cities, generating 30% of the building’s power. The installation of the shop’s 174-panel, 40-kilowatt system was completed in early April as part of a project run by South Minneapolis-based Solarflow Energy. The company offers solar electricity leasing. The company is under contract with Xcel Energy for the project, which...

Homes of Lake Minnetonka Tours & Lectures

Tours of four Lake Minnetonka homes will be offered in four sessions in May. The tour and lecture series, called "Homes of Lake Minnetonka," will be hosted by the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, local author Bette Hammel, and several architects.

Hammel, who will lead historical lectures about the homes, is the author of "Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka," published October 2009. The book highlights the history and architecture of 30 Lake Minnetonka homes. Out of four houses that will be featured in the series, three of them were in her book.

Architect Marcelo Valdes, University of Minnesota professor and owner of M. Valdes Architects, and Jon Monson, of the Landschute Group, will also join the tours. Designer Pamela Vasquez of the New Studio in Minnetonka will discuss design elements of the homes.

"These are houses that are really iconic in terms of there architecture, and many of them are not often open to the public for viewing, so it's a pretty special opportunity on many levels," [Minnetonka Center for the Arts Executive Director Roxanne] Heaton said.

It is hoped this inaugural tour will create interest for future historical homes tours, both for home owners and visitors.

Registration for four lecture series and home tours is $135 per person for Minnetonka Center for the Arts members, and $150 for nonmembers. The lectures will occur on Tuesdays, May 4, 11, 18 and 25.


Tom Petters' Wayzata Home Sells for $5 Million

What may be the best-known house on Lake Minnetonka has been sold. After more than 400 days on the market, 37 showings and one rejected offer, the 9,300-square-foot, 7-bedroom home in Wayzata MN once owned by convicted Ponzi scheme operator Tom Petters sold for $5 million. That is down from $8.25 million when it first went on the market in January of 2009.

Court-appointed receiver Doug Kelley, whose office oversaw the transaction, said he was "very happy" to close on the deal given the weak market for high-end homes.

"This is just the second home in the last two years to sell for $5 million or more in the Lake Minnetonka area," Kelley said.

The property sits on about 1 1/4 acres, has 250 feet of lakefront, a guest house, a 6-car garage and an empty wine cellar. See the Star Tribune article to see a photo of the home taken from the lake.

Petters was recently sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in the $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. The conviction and sentence are being appealed.


Energy Efficient Homes on Tour

It's spring time! That means home tours! And here is the next one!

Xcel Energy's Energy Efficient Homes on Tour showcases 53 exciting, beautiful Twin Cities homes that are all energy efficient!  The homes are 15 to 30% more energy-efficient than conventionally built homes. All of the homes have been certified by Energy Star or the Minnesota GreenStar programs.

The tour free and open to the public April 16 through 18, and April 23 through 25. The hours are Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays Noon to 6 p.m.

A full tour map and guide is available at Warners' Stellian stores, Hirshfield's locations and in the April issue of Mpls/St. Paul magazine.

What will you see?

• Sustainable designs
• Sustainable materials
• Compact construction
• High-performance windows
• Efficient heating, cooling equipment
• Efficient appliances
• High-efficiency lighting
• Low-flow faucets

But that doesn't mean they don't have open floor plans, beautiful Gourmet kitchens, and hardwood floors

Through Xcel Energy's conservation program called Energy Star Homes, homeowners can see lower energy costs, have fewer maintenance concerns and notice healthier indoor air quality and quieter homes....

Minneapolis: Friendliest City for Cyclers in the United States

Minneapolis reigns supreme as the bike-friendliest city in the United States. In the new issue of Bicycling magazine, Minneapolis has dethroned Portland, Oregon, to top 49 other large- and medium-sized cities in accessibility to bicyclists. Portland has long ranked first, both in the magazine's rankings and other surveys.

In its assessment of Minneapolis, the magazine pointed out that Minneapolis has nearly doubled its percentage of bike commuters in just three years. The city also pledges to install new bike racks and start an innovative bike-share program.

Other criteria taken into account for the assessment include a city's number of bike lanes, municipal bike racks, bike boulevards, government interest in cycling improvements and local bike culture.

Not surprisingly, other high-ranking cities include;

3.  Seattle
4.  Boulder
5.  Eugene
6.  San Francisco
7.  Madison, which was ranked seventh.
8.  New York City
9.  Tucson
10. Chicago

Sioux Falls was ranked at 31st and Fargo was ranked 46th.

See the rest of Bicylcing magazine's 50 bike-friendly cities.