Town Talk: What’s new in housing?

Town Talk

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

The New Ulm Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently received the 2017 Housing Study. Housing studies analyze a community’s demographic makeup. This includes income and employment trends, the housing market, including for-sale, rental, senior and other types of housing, estimate of demands for all types of housing over the next five years, and recommendations of the types of housing necessary to meet current and future needs. A copy of the New Ulm Housing Study is available on the City of New Ulm website at www.ci.new-ulm.mn.us and printed copies are available for $25 from the EDA office by calling (507)359-8227 or by emailing nueda@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

According to the Housing Study, over 6,000 workers commute into New Ulm. If we can provide places for them to live, they may decide to reside in New Ulm and local employers are more likely to retain these employees. The availability of an assortment of housing styles is known to either help or hurt in the recruitment of new employees to fill all kinds of local business and industry job openings.

The EDA has been coordinating with the Housing Needs Initiative (HNI) Task Force to share the 2017 Housing Study information with local stakeholders. A meeting with local developers, property owners, lenders, realtors, contractors, interested citizens and city staff was held in August. Another meeting with local senior housing providers was held in October to discuss the study.

HNI recently completed a comprehensive community action plan that was accepted by the City Council and EDA. The plan was incorporated into a tax credit application to convert the former middle school into 55 affordable rental units. The tax credit application was awarded by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency in October and construction on the project is scheduled to start in 2018. The re-se project is located in the middle of the community and adjacent to the downtown business district, all very important considerations in obtaining the tax credit award.

The EDA recently sold twenty acres of land in the Milford Heights Subdivision to a local developer. Construction is underway on the first phase, which includes 8 single family homes, 4 twin-homes and 18 townhomes, totaling 34 new housing units. A second phase is planned and includes 24 single family and 6 twin-homes, providing another 36 new housing units.

A new apartment development is under construction in the downtown area (100 South Minnesota St.), which will offer 37 new rental apartments to those aged 55 and older. Another developer is moving forward with plans to build 6 four-plex rental units on the north end of town, which will bring 24 new housing units.

Once these projects are all completed, a total of 186 new housing units will be available in New Ulm. This is a great start toward meeting the pent up demand for both homeownership and rental units. But there is more we can do! The EDA and HNI are currently working together to offer renter and landlord education classes beginning in 2018. The New Ulm Economic Development Authority and the Housing Needs Initiative Task Force are both committed to working with area developers to address our housing needs in the future.

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