City intends to sell S. 15th Street property for $1 to housing developer

(Above) An example of proposed housing on South 15th Street.

The Clear Lake City Council has approved a letter of intent with a Cedar Falls developer to redevelop a city-owned property.  The property at 100 S. 15th St., currently has storage garages used by the city.

In May, requests for proposals to redevelop the property were issued by the city.  Two proposals were received, but only one proposed the construction of market value multi-family rental housing, which the City had noted was its intended outcome for the property.

In a unanimous vote Monday night, the Council agreed to a letter of intent for the sale of the property and set a public hearing for 6 p.m. July 2, in Council Chambers.

City leaders agreed to deed the property in “as-is” condition to Echo Development Group for $1, with the developer proposing to construct not less than an eight-unit, multi-family market rate rental apartment project, with an estimated new taxable value of $1.5 million.   The City has offered five-year tax-increment financing at 75 percent tax abatement.

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.

Echo Development Group is based in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  City Administrator Scott Flory noted the group has interest in several properties in Clear Lake, and is currently working with the Clear

Lake School District to purchase its Sunset School property.

In its proposal, Echo Development Group stated it prefers to develop the entire six lot site, including those lots owned by Cerro Gordo County, however the developer has also prepared a four lot version of the site as an alternative.  The six lot version would have 12 units, 16 parking spaces and a large green area.  The four lot version would have eight units, six parking spaces and an open green space.

A tentative timeline submitted by the developer would have construction beginning in September 2018 and completed by November 2019.

Flory compared the pending sale of the South 15th Street property to that of the Lakeland Property on West 10th Avenue North which was sold to Tim Stenberg, of Joshua Homes, several years ago.  In that instance the City was also successful in turning under-utilized property into a prime development for single family housing aimed at attracting young families to first time home ownership.  The area, which was successfully developed in phases, now contains 60-plus homes which boost the city’s tax rolls, as well as bring families to the community and put children in the schools, said Flory.

Watermain improvement

In other business, the Council reviewed proposed plans and specifications for its 12th Avenue South Watermain Improvement Project with Chase Holien, from WHKS & Co., of Mason City.  A bid letting will be held July 12, with consideration of an award of contract and public hearing set for July 16.  Construction is anticipated to begin in mid-August and be completed by mid-November.

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