Rental Homes Planned for School Property

1 Jan 2017

A former school property may soon provide an opportunity to alleviate rental housing shortages in Holdrege and provide a boost to the tax rolls.

The Holdrege City Council in December approved the sale of the former Washington Elementary School property, located between 8th and 9th streets on Burlington, to the Phelps County Development Corporation. PCDC is hoping to close on the ground in mid-January.

PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said he has been working with a developer on Phase I of a project, which would include the construction of 18 townhome-style rental units on the east side of the property facing Morton Street. Construction on the homes could begin as early as the spring of 2017.

Tillery said that a housing study completed in 2012 estimated that 74 rental units were needed in Holdrege.

“An acute need for this category of housing is to serve new, young professionals like teachers, medical technologists and nurses,” Tillery said. “Many people can’t or don’t want to buy right away, so it’s critical to have choices available so they don’t end up living outside the county. Commuters who don’t live here are vulnerable to taking other jobs in the future instead of putting down roots here.” 

Future phases of the development may include two commercial projects facing Burlington Street.

Besides providing home and business opportunities, the development will also result in increasing the local tax base as buildings are constructed on the property.

PCDC purchased the property for $189,000.

Tillery said the advantage of PCDC owning the property is that the organization can partner with developers to connect them with local resources and may be able to provide financial incentives to make new projects more feasible.

“We now have more flexibility in working with developers as a partner, which is especially helpful in mixed-use projects,” Tillery said.