Groups urge Council to sell property for housing development

Representatives of the North Iowa Economic Development Corridor, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, local school and business leaders attended the Monday, July 2, Clear Lake City Council meeting in support of a project which will help to bring multi-family market rate rental properties to Clear Lake.

City leaders shared their enthusiasm for the sale of city-owned property at 100 S. 15th St. with a unanimous vote.

Echo Development Group, based in Cedar Falls, will construct not less than an eight-unit rental complex on property located on South 15th Street.   The project will be completed by November 2019.

City Administrator Scott Flory said some members of the community had questioned the City’s reasoning for selling the property for just $1 in “as-is” condition.  In its Request for Proposals, the city had identified market-rate rental housing as a priority for its two-lot site.  Two proposals were received, however Echo Development was the only firm with a project meeting the City’s intent for the property.

Terms of the sale call for the City to provide five-year tax-increment financing at 75 percent tax abatement.  Flory noted the new apartment project will have an estimated new taxable value of $1,150,000. The economic impact of the Echo Development Group project is estimated to be a $36,000 per year tax base increase and $360,000 increase of tax revenue over a 10-year period.

The property currently is tax exempt since it’s owned by the city.

Chad Schreck, executive director of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp., told the Council market-rate mid-level houses and apartments was identified as a primary need in the recent Vision North Iowa plan issued by the group.  The plan was developed  as a shared vision for North Iowa’s eco-

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