Fixes in place after extreme cold proves to be too much for energy-efficient heating/air-handling systems in some Agassiz Townhomes units

    The CEO of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc., which owns/operates the recently opened Agassiz Townhomes on Crookston’s north end, says that, overall, things have been going pretty well in the 30-unit development’s first couple months of operation. But, Jason Carlson adds, there have been some bumps in the road.

    Updating the Crookston City Council, Carlson said the biggest unanticipated glitch has involved the energy-efficient HVAC/air-handling systems installed in the units and the systems’ inconsistent ability to handle some of the extreme cold that has accompanied this winter.

    “It’s been a rough winter on our energy efficiency,” Carlson said, referring specifically to “concentric venting” installed in the units that all of the experts and research indicated beforehand would be up to the task. “All the specs said it should work, but it hasn’t,” he added.

    During the recent stretch of extreme cold, some Agassiz Townhomes units suffered numerous heat outages, Carlson said. He credited everyone from the architects to manufacturers to HVAC sub-contractors who installed the units for putting in the necessary time to come up with fixes that got the heat back on and, to date, appear to be keeping it on in the units.

    “This past weekend was cold and windy, and the two units affected the most before are showing promising early results,” Carlson explained. “We’re fine for this fix; I hope we have that solved.”

    Other items of note in Carlson’s update on Agassiz Townhomes include:

    • Of the 30 units, 24 have been leased and/or spoken for to date. While noting that full “lease-up” has gone a bit slower than hoped, Carlson stressed that the desire to fill the units with as many families as possible led to a more deliberate approach. As a result, he noted, the average household size in the units leased to date is 2.95 people. With the six remaining units all being of the three-bedroom variety, Carlson said he expects the average household size to increase.

    • Carlson said the five buildings themselves look beautiful, but he added that when warmer weather arrives, the second lift of asphalt in the parking areas will be added, as will grass and other landscaping. There will be a playground area for the children living in the townhomes, and Carlson said there’s talk of adding raised garden beds in the courtyard area.

    • It took around four years and a lot of twists and turns in the planning and process needed to be  successfully navigated in order to make Agassiz Townhomes a reality. Carlson said that without the City of Crookston, Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority (CHEDA), the local business community and other partners working together, Agassiz Townhomes would have never happened. The wide-ranging partnership led Minnesota Housing to highlight the Crookston project statewide, Carlson said, and spurred a visit and tour by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.