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New York Developer Plans Monterey Wilderness Estates For The Wealthy

MONTEREY (CBS SF) -- Just beyond Monterey County's famous coastline and miles of sandy beaches is a new private community in development.

Sitting on a dramatic hillside filled with oak trees -- some 200-years old -- is 600 acres of untouched land. It's called Walden Monterey.

"I think what we are doing differently is that we are celebrating nature, focused on nature, protecting nature and also focused on luxury living and building homes that are contemporary style," Nick Jekogian, Developer & President of Signature Group

Jekogian called it his most innovative real estate gamble yet -- targeting wealthy Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and executives.

The entire community will be home to 22 residents or families - each with a 20-acre plot of land. Price tag to get in: $5 million. Building a
a dream home - or more likely, vacation home - will cost another $5 million.

"My buyer is probably living about 90 miles north of here on a full time basis in Silicon Valley or Bay Area and wants a weekend getaway in nature," Jekogian said.

Jekogian said the idea is to get some of the Valley's most successful and their young families to disconnect from technology and escape for the weekend.

"Personally that's what convinced me to do what we're doing here at Walden Monterey," he ssaid. "I saw the value of doing it. I started spending time here. I actually pitched a tent myself and stayed here for a few nights and realized how much better I thought and was able to focus on sort of the bigger picture instead of always checking my phone."

Jekogian has invited dozens of top architects to do the same. They stayed in yurts for inspiration and came up with some renderings of what they envisioned modern living at Walden would look like.

"The focus of Walden Monterey or I guess the rules of Walden Monterey are fairly simple, there's two rules, don't take down any trees, and use renewable energy sources in the design of your homes," he said.

The size and design of the home is up to the buyer. The community will include amenities like a meditation garden, private hiking trails, and a sunrise yoga platform. There's nothing quite like it on the market in unincorporated Monterey County. A smaller plot of land in nearby Carmel is selling for $3.5 million

"I envision a community that people are going to point to and say that the people that live here could have done it differently, they could have built bigger homes, they could have taken down trees, they could have the manicured lawns of other projects but they different (because they wanted to do it differently)," Jekogian said.

Eight lots go up for sale this fall. The rest will be available in 2018.

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