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Old 02-01-2014, 08:52 AM
 
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It looks like we are being transferred to MSP. I know, brrrrr. We are a family of 4 (middle school kids) that have moved a lot and I just want to be in an easy living place. Schools are super important to me. Both of my girls are in gifted program. We have done charter schools for the most part but the last 2 years in NC we had them in private to keep class sizes small. I would love to find a STEM program for my oldest.

We lived in Eden Prairie last time we lived in MN. I liked EP but I don't want a great big house with a yard to take care of this time around. I am thinking a condo or townhouse close to a restaurants, shops. Our first thought was Edina when we heard we were moving back but if I remember correctly, that was mostly neighborhoods of beautiful but older homes (which means a lot of upkeep to me). And I don't think we could hop on our bikes to go get ice cream from the residential areas. Right now we are 3/4 of a mile from a tiny downtown but there are restaurants and a few shops, music in the park during the summer. We also lived in Saratoga Springs, NY and we didn't mind walking the mile to get downtown from our home there. Something like Saratoga would be my ideal. We have a lot of flexibility since our commutes split between Champlin for me and Burnsville for my husband. I know, lots of driving but we also lived in CA so anything is better than a West Coast commute!

We would consider buying $650-$700k but I want to rent before we commit to anything long term. I'm not sure if our budget would work around Lake Calhoun but I have thought about that as well.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:10 AM
 
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You could find a condo or townhome in EP, it doesn't have to be a big house. I would say find a place near one of your places of work so if someone needed to get to the kids, they were sick at school or whatever, they could, I guess which ever parent would have the most flexibility to do that. If you want to split the difference, maybe Wayzata or St. Louis Park??? If you are looking for more of a townhome situation, those typically are built more toward the business centers so walking to get ice cream isn't going to be much of an issue. With you having jobs on opposite ends of the metro, one of you is going to have a bad commute either way.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:12 AM
 
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You should be able to buy something in your price range around Lake Calhoun -- although it may be more difficult (but not impossible) to find a newer place. Also check out around Lake of the Isles. You wouldn't be able to buy anything right on the lake, but I think you should be able to find something in the general area for within that budget. And for renting, I looked at Craiglist and see there are definitely some rentals available; a 3-BR condo, for example, near Franklin and Dupont (technically Lowry Hill) for $1900; that's a fantastic location, and just a block from Sebastian Joe's for those ice cream cones you mention! That general area -- parts of Lowry Hill and East Isles neighborhood -- has many of decent rentals under $3000, and when it comes to buying there are both condos and townhouses mixed in with the single-family houses. For schools, the locally zoned school in that area is Anthony, I believe (which has a good reputation), and Southwest for high school (very good reputation, and with a lot of advanced math and science options); the only negative would be that both Anthony and SW are a bit of a trek, although still an easy enough pleasant bike ride, should your kids want to bike to school. Or a straight shot on the 6 bus (these days the kids have to take the city bus when they're in high school).

You may want to focus more towards Linden Hills/Fulton (or by Lake Harriet); that would put you within easy walking/biking distance to both the "downtown" commercial district of Linden Hills (which is, I think, the ultimate in family-friendly locations in the Twin Cities) and the businesses of the 50th and France district, which straddles the Minneapolis/Edina border and feels kind of like a little downtown of sorts. Southwest HS is located in Fulton, which would make the commute really easy; Anthony is in Kenny neighborhood, which is about two miles away.

My husband says the drive from Lowry Hill to Burnsville isn't too bad (he has had to go out there regularly), but he's also looking at it from a CA perspective.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:32 AM
 
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Going south on 35 during rush hour, south of downtown, is pretty easy and free flowing.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:38 PM
 
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Will we find other families living in the condos or do we need to be in a single family home to see other kids? Uptown-urbanist, thank you for the neighborhood specifics. Very helpful! Lake Harriet US seems to do better than Anthony on Greatschools so I have a feel we may zero in on that zone. My oldest is a gymnast so the drive to Champlin wouldn't be during rush hour, so that is less of a worry for us.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:15 PM
 
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In these city neighborhoods the condos and townhomes are mixed in with single family homes, so even if there are no kids in your building there would probably be some on the block. (although we live in one in the area, and I know there are some other kids on the block in multi-family buildings, too). Not to mention that the parks are filled with kids -- Kenwood Park is not far from Lowry Hill/East Isles, and has a popular sledding hill.

For sheer number of other kids around, though, closer towards Linden Hills is your best bet. And given your preferences in neighborhood type, I think you'll be happy in that area. I believe some of the buildings in Linden Hills lining Lake Harriet are condos; I haven't been in any of them, but for ultimate Minneapolis experience it would be tough to beat a lake-facing home just blocks from the Lake Harriet bandshell and the Linden Hills business core. Winter might not even be quite so bad with the lake right there.

If you do end up also considering Anthony, I know people with kids there who have been very happy; I gather that the school has improved quite a bit in the past several years. They love the teachers and staff, and the parents are very active and involved. Anthony draws from a wider section of the city than Lake Harriet, though, so realistically the scores are going to reflect that.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:46 PM
 
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It's more likely to find condos/townhomes crawling with kids at a lower price point.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
It's more likely to find condos/townhomes crawling with kids at a lower price point.
Not in the Minneapolis neighborhoods she's talking about -- the condos are often cheaper than single family houses in the neighborhood, but they're still pretty pricey. I think in this city most (although certainly not all) families still do prefer single family houses, and so instead of paying a premium for a condo in East Isles, they move a few miles south and buy a house in relatively more affordable SW Minneapolis neighborhoods like Kingfield, Armatage, Kenny, etc.. Around here it seems like the condos tend to be owned by either younger professionals or older single people or couples. Not sure about the townhomes; I don't know that they're much cheaper than the single family houses in the area, although the size may well appeal to more families, as it can be difficult to find larger condos.

I'm talking primarily about the Lake Calhoun/Isles neighborhoods. I'm not as sure about Linden Hills, but then again, because the condos and townhomes there are also all mixed in with single family homes, it becomes less of a concern -- there are kids everywhere in that neighborhood, and since the vast majority in that area choose to go the public school route, odds are that that even if they don't initially meet friends in their immediate building or on the block, they'll make friends at school (or through park activities, if they join park sports, etc.) will live in walking or biking distance, especially for Lake Harriet (which has an even smaller attendance zone than Southwest).

I can well imagine that the dynamics are different in other parts of the metro area, though.
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