Low-income townhomes completed

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency released news Thursday that phase one of the Washington Townhomes affordable housing project is complete. Located at 801-18th Ave. SE, four two-storeyed row structures will feature 18 two-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom, and two four-bedroom units. Each unit comes with its own entryways, backyard patio, and vehicular garage. Six of the two-bedroom units will also be handicapped-accessible.

At the buildings’ dedication ceremony, a groundbreaking was simultaneously held for phase two of the housing project, which will feature 32 similar units sited just to the north of the first phase. In addition to project partners, in attendance were Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Sen. John Hoeven, Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman and Rep. Kevin Cramer.

Both phases will have similar rent structures targeting low-income families, ranging from $398 to $955. For example, a three-person household earning $35,000 or less would qualify to rent a two-bedroom unit for $650 per month or a three-bedroom for $795. Excepting electricity, utilities are included in the rent. Full lease up for phase one units is expected to be completed in October.

The project’s developer, Beyond Shelter Incorporated, anticipates the construction of phase two to be completed next July. The Fargo-based company is a non-profit that specializes in developing low-income housing in both Dakotas and Minnesota.

“All our projects are local-partnership based,” explained Dan Madler, BSI’s chief operating officer. Washington Townhomes is the developer’s first completed project in Minot, with more expected in future. In the Dickinson area as well, BSI will break ground on a two-phase housing project for seniors in September.

Washington Townhomes’ first-phase units were settled into 16 units at a time, after a pair of lotteries were held in February and May to choose tenants from a pool of qualified applicants. “Minot Housing Authority is evaluating that system,” Madler explained, to decide whether the lottery worked well enough for the first phase to repeat in the second.

In its entirety, the project is anticipated to cost $14.7 million, with more than 10 private, state and local stakeholders working in collaboration.

The NDHFA, an agency of the state industrial commission, reported that it arranged credits of $272,893 in 2012 and $1,005,857 in 2013, which brought $11.8 million in equity to the project from US Bank. Bell State Bank & Trust provided the construction financing, and Affordable Housing Developers the permanent financing. The properties were acquired with $750,000 in funds allocated from the governor’s discretionary fund, and will be managed by the Minot Housing Authority.