Photographs by Chad Holder and Caitlin Abrams
Derek Wallace and Philomena Kemsley walking in their neighborhood
Derek Wallace and Philomena Kemsley
Snapshot: Derek Wallace and Philomena Kemsley.
Where: A Tudor in Shenandoah Terrace.
Median home price: $232,000 (Northrop).
What’s to love: “It was critical that we were able to walk to nearby restaurants and shops,” Wallace says. “Shenandoah Terrace has everything we need.”
Some families who initially focus their search in Fulton or Linden Hills often find themselves crossing over I-35 to Nokomis, where neighborhoods like Field, Page, Hale, and Ericsson are surging in popularity. One jewel in the area is Shenandoah Terrace, a subdivision of the Northrop neighborhood. This pocket features charming Tudors, bungalows, and a quaint retail district at 48th and Chicago, just north of the Minnehaha bike trail. The neighborhood includes several streets developed by the Thorpe Brothers, the same developers responsible for homes in the Country Club neighborhood of Edina. But tidy, three-bedroom homes priced in the $300,000s and $400,000s can be had here. “It’s a unique pocket,” says Keller Williams Realtor Rebecca Powell, who specializes in this area and used to live here. “There’s a hip and fun energy that’s very evident just walking around the neighborhood.” And if you can put up with a bit more of the airplane noise, you’ll find similar amenities available in the southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods, with easy access both to I-35 and Hwy. 62. Derek Wallace and his wife, Philomena Kemsley, bought a Tudor-style home last summer in Shenandoah Terrace, after not finding a home that suited them in their top-three choice neighborhoods (Lynnhurst, Uptown, and Linden Hills). Wallace says he happened to drive through the neighborhood on the way back from visiting a friend and was blown away by its vibrancy and the walkable shopping district. The bonus has been friendly neighbors and gatherings like the holiday progressive dinner on his street. “It really felt like we moved into a community here,” he says.
Mississippi River trail near Highland Park, Highland Park theater
It’s a pretty standard wish list for your average Twin Cities homebuyer: homes with character and well-tended yards, a walkable downtown where you can shop for gifts or staples and grab dinner, too, plus low crime, strong schools, a central location, and impressive amounts of easy to access nature. You probably already know that Highland Park, where home sales averaged $270,350 last year (up 2.4 percent from 2014), delivers all this and more—the Village and its vintage movie theater, the mile-high Reubens at Cecil’s, and those showstopping Mississippi River trails are part of what’s awesome about being a Twin Citian. But things are getting a little more interesting here in the Edina of the East, as Man Huynh of Edina Realty calls it. The A Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will barrel down Ford Parkway in June, connecting the Blue Line in Minneapolis, and the Green Line at Snelling and University. New combination living and commercial developments are popping up along the main arteries of Ford and Cleveland, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that fresh new liquor laws mean restaurants can finally add mixed drinks to the menu. A lot of the current investment is likely sparked by possibility: The fate of the 135-acre river-viewing Ford Plant site may well be revealed this year, and initial city visioning says it’ll hold an easy-to-access and sustainable planned mix of housing, parks, and businesses. Some neighborhoods have all the luck.
Shout-out to the residents who created the Historic Hill District for keeping the Cathedral Hill area real. It’s St. Paul’s largest historically protected neighborhood (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), which is why that wrought iron fence/stained glass/moulding has graced that row house/carriage house/porch-ringed Victorian since about 1876. It’s also why any new goings-on tend to be rooted in the past. Case in point: The Commodore—the glam 1930s lounge-restaurant in the hotel-turned-apartment building where flappers and gangsters kicked back, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived and partied for months at a time—which opened to the public last fall. The mirrored walls, art deco light fixtures, and tidy pocket bar make sipping your champagne cocktail feel like a step back in time. It’s not just The Commodore that transports. The quiet little pocket parks; subterranean shops; hidden, twinkle-lit patios (we’re looking at you, Moscow on the Hill), and the homes—oh, those beautiful old homes—all communicate perspective, lending the sense that you’re part of something much bigger. Older. Grander. And, hey, if it was good enough to inspire old F. Scott, it’s sure good enough for us.
It’s where the cool kids live, but not for cheap. Near lakes, shops, and schools.
Literary types love it here: Coffee shops, cozy homes, and tree-lined streets.
More affordable than Lowry Hill, still close to nature and walkable to restaurants, shops.