SPECIAL REPORT: Housing in Monterey County to attract the wealthy

SPECIAL REPORT Housing in Monterey County to attract the wealthy

MONTEREY, Calif. - It's no secret housing is scarce on the Central Coast.

But despite that, a new housing development is in the works on the peninsula to attract the wealthy.

Some of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area's wealthiest will soon be living in Monterey County, as multi-million dollar homes will be built right in our backyard right off highway 68 on land near Laguna Seca.

But despite the unaffordability for the average joe, the developer tells us everyone can take something away from Walden Monterey.

Others, however are a little skeptical of what else might come along with it.

Just down the coastline into Monterey County the views are breathtaking, the mood serene, the land untouched and the price tag heavy.

Around $5 million…and that’s just the lot for starters.

It’s called Walden Monterey and it’s said to be something never seen on the Central Coast.

“My whole intention with the development of the property is to do as little as possible," says Developer Nick Jekogian. "It’s been under construction for 300 years and i want to keep it going that way with nature doing the construction for the next 300 years.”

There are just two rules at Walden Monterey.

“Don’t take down any trees and use all renewable energy sources.”

Jekogian tells us the development aims to provide silicon valley tech-types with a retreat close enough to home, that still feels remote.

This will allow people to disconnect from technology and take in nature. The development has 600 acres for 22 homes.

“It’s created a price point that I’d say is out of reach for most people, unfortunately,” says Jekogian.

….for most locals, that is.

Monterey County Housing Authority Director Manny Gonzalez says housing costs continue their upward swing, and the county is feeling the pressure from the markets in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

So what would a development like Walden Monterey do to the market here, where there isn’t even enough housing for those who live here?

Gonzalez says price increases are a definite possibility.

“It’s going to continue to escalate given the prices people are paying for an acre of land to develop, it just makes it very difficult to build affordable units for the families that are in dire need of finding safe and affordable housing,” says Gonzalez.

But Jekogian says despite Walden Monterey’s unaffordability for most, he feels there is something everyone can take away.

“The hope is that the way that we’re developing this becomes sort of a symbol to others that they can use nature, protect nature and develop around it instead of taking down the trees.”

The solar powered houses are expected to have no net impact on the environment. Amenities like a meditation garden, yoga areas and private hiking trails are also on the menu.

This is all mirroring Henry David Thoreau’s simple life approach.

“Going into nature, staying in nature and creating what has become a legacy of over 200 years now and our hope is that Walden Monterey becomes that same type of legacy for the future of development in natural areas like this.”

Walden Monterey is currently 75 percent through land construction and Jekogian says the intent is to be finished at the end of this year. Construction on homes is expected to begin in 2019.

For more information, click here.

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