In a possible indication of the level of interest among potential developers in constructing an apartment complex somewhere in Crookston, a comprehensive, local housing study that had been planned for 2014 is being fast-tracked and will commence this fall.
Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) Executive Director Craig Hoiseth told the city council's Ways & Means Committee this week that the original plan was to have CHEDA pay for the study next year. But Mayor Dave Genereux suggested commencing with the study and completing it as soon as possible. So the committee this week recommended council approval of the just-under $14,000 cost coming from the city's Municipal Land and Buildings Fund.
"If housing is really one of our key priorities, then we really need to know what we need to build, whether it's multi-family, single-family...the whole gamut of options," Genereux said.
Clearly, Hoiseth added, multi-family housing is a critical need in Crookston. A new apartment building hasn't been constructed since the Summerfield Place projects, he said. "That's a long time to go without anything being built," he said. "There are a lot of people kicking the tires on multi-family development opportunities in Crookston, and if you look at our vacancy rates, it's a dire need in the community."
The study will take up to four months to complete. The last housing study for Crookston was done in 2007.
"We're trying to solicit outside investment in multi-family and senior housing," Hoiseth said. "...In order to secure that investment, we're going to need this type of detailed information available to those who might consider investing significant dollars in our community."
The data will help, too, Ward 1 Council Member Tom Jorgens added, if any developers look to take advantage of any government funding as part of a project. "These are the challenging areas of the housing market where you really can't go it alone," he said.
At Thursday’s CHEDA Board of Directors meeting, Hoiseth mentioned land near Crookston Sports Center or land near Kevin Ross’ south-end housing development as possible sites for an apartment building that are of interest to potential developers.