Washington Square Apartments Questions Answered
Monday, June 26, 2017
Construction will begin soon on 18 new apartment townhomes on the former Washington school property in Holdrege. The project is expected to meet the need for more rental homes for the local workforce.
The project, called Washington Square Apartments in honor of the property’s heritage, is the first phase of three developments planned for the property. The apartments will be constructed on the east side of the property, which will face existing homes on Morton Street.
The Phelps County Development Corporation, who purchased the property from the City of Holdrege in February, sold the property to Flat River Enterprises, who will build the $2.25 million residential development as the first phase of the property development. The sale came after 10 months of pre-development recruitment efforts by PCDC. Flat River Enterprises is an investment group based in Kearney that also owns Holdrege VA Clinic and has invested in office buildings, residential units and other projects in south-central Nebraska.
PCDC is providing assistance to the project through LB840 sales-tax funds as it meets the objective of creating workforce housing to help area employers find and retain employees.
Apartment Description: The units will be built as single-story six-plexes. Each single-story unit will be approximately 1,100 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The units will be equipped with washers and dryers and kitchen appliances. Off-street parking will be created.
Zoning: The school property is currently zoned R-2 for multi-family development, so rezoning is not required.
Rent: The townhome apartments will be available to rent from the developer or its representative. The rent price has yet to be established but will likely fall in the $900 a month range.
Local Contractors Involved: As construction plans become finalized, local contractors who are part of PCDC’s Builder’s Bureau will have the opportunity to submit bids as the developer has promised to open bidding to local providers. This project is not a subsidized housing project. It is being built within the free enterprise system, so competition between contractors, sub-contractors and vendors will be a given.
Benefit to Local Economy: During construction, the project will create local jobs. Once the project is complete, jobs may be created as upkeep and maintenance will be required on the units. And, it will add value to the tax rolls and may possibly add new residents to the community, creating new vitality.
Cost: Total cost of the Washington Square Apartments is estimated at $2.25 million, which shows investor confidence in the local market. Tax increment financing will not be used on this project.
The Need: A study conducted last year for PCDC indicated that of the 4,590 jobs in Phelps County, nearly half (or 2,177 jobs) are filled by workers who live outside of the county. PCDC leadership hopes the apartments will be attractive to commuters who want to live in Holdrege but can’t find housing. Recent housing studies show a large demand for this type of housing. If it fills quickly, similar units will be constructed.