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New Monterey community inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walden’

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Housing concept hopes to get wealthy elite to “disconnect from technology”

Roving glass pod guest house.
Rendering courtesy of developer

Transcendentalist scribe Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is a meditation on simple living in nature’s surroundings. Now the writer’s lifestyle tome is the basis for a new living community in Monterey where admission will cost you roughly $5 million.

Described as a “forward thinking enclave of residential properties, rooted in a shared commitment to creating a community that integrates a low impact built environment on its spectacular natural surrounding,” Walden Monterey is set on a 600-acre, oak tree-strewn hillside on the Monterey Peninsula.

The entire community will hold only 22 residents. Each resident will receive a 20-acre parcel that’s “fully immersed in nature.”

The idea, according to developer Nick Jekogian, president and CEO of Signature Group Investments, is to get some of the world’s biggest executives to “disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with their families and themselves through nature.”

Spec house.
Spec house.

As for building a home on the multimillion-dollar lot—no hardline restriction on size or materials—there are two suggestions:

1. Nature was here first, do not disturb it. Be mindful.

2. Build a sustainable home. Because each lot is private, Walden Monterey does not wish to create lengthy guidelines that restrict their resident's ability to design and build the home of their dreams.

So far two lots have been sold to buyers.

Lucas Eastwood of Eastwood Development purchased the first property at Monterey Walden. The San Francisco-based developer snapped up an 8-acre parcel where, with the help of award-winning Feldman Architects and noted landscaper Bernard Trainor, he plans on building a 4,000-foot-square home.

“Growing up on the Indian reservation, this idea of preservation and respect is something that’s been ingrained in me since I was a child, and I feel compelled to carry it on,” says Eastwood. “The land is so raw and sacred it wouldn’t want to do anything to disrupt it.”

A few amenities for those who can call Walden home (or, most likely, a second or third home):

  • A community-wide trail system with hiking programming
  • An outdoor communal farm table commissioned by a local artist
  • Community gathering spots to “promote conversation and human connection”
  • A sunrise yoga platform
  • A treehouse for children
  • Zen meditation gardens
  • A visiting artists program and a fellowship program to help educate residents on nature and sustainable systems
  • A “TED-like discussion series for residents,” which will focus on “global conversations inspired by nature”

Eight of 22 lots will be available fall 2017, with the remaining lots available early 2018. Have at them, wealthy nature lovers.

Developer Nick Jekogian (left) takes team on a tour of Monterey Walden land.
Developer Nick Jekogian (left) takes team on a tour of Monterey Walden land.