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Filling city’s housing shortage

Posted 7/22/09 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Watford City is often referred to as a growing and thriving community. However, a lack of housing has made it difficult for the community to continue growing. A problem the city hopes will be resolved soon through two housing projects.
“In an effort to keep costs down, we were looking for a private developer to come in and construct some housing,” says Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Job Development Authority executive director. “These projects are just what we were looking for; they will allow us to offer more quality family housing in Watford City.”
Cascade Homes of Bozeman, Mont. has begun construction on eight town homes which are expected to be completed in 60 to 70 days and Lutheran Social Services Housing will soon be ready to begin constructing a 24-unit twin home complex that could be ready for occupancy as early as October.
Both housing projects will be located on the south side of town next to the four-plexes that were built a couple of years ago by the Watford City Housing Authority.
“It is nice to have a private partner to help with our housing needs,” adds Veeder. “It’s just not cost-effective for the housing authority to do it on its own.”
Founded on the core values of quality and service, Cascade Homes began in 1996 with the simple vision of providing well crafted and affordable homes, which is exactly what they plan to bring to Watford City.
Cascade Homes will begin its Watford City project with eight twin homes, and if the demand is there, they plan to add single family homes in the future.
“I’ve been watching the Bakken for over a year and one of the reasons I chose Watford City was because of its location right in the middle of this oil play,” says John Dunlap, Cascade Homes chief executive officer. “The other reason I liked Watford City was because it stands out as a great community.”
The biggest difference between the two projects is that the LSS project involves rental units while the homes by Cascade will be available to purchase at prices equivalent to renting.
“Our product is a ranch-style single level town home,” adds Dunlap. “Each home will have its own lot complete with landscaping and a two-car garage.”
According to Dunlap, financing the homes will be made easier because they offer a 10-year guarantee and each home is on its own lot.
“There are virtually no homes to rent in Watford City,” says Veeder. “The Cascade project offers the option to purchase homes at the same cost as renting and the LSS project offers rentals with a home atmosphere. These projects are a great opportunity to our community.”
The LSS project is still finalizing contracts with hopes of beginning construction within the next two weeks. The project will include 12 duplex units or 24 one and two-bedroom units.
“After spending the winter and spring pulling together the necessary financing, we are really looking forward to getting started on the fun part of the project,” says Jessica Thomasson, LSS Housing Inc. director.
The LSS units will be one or two-bedroom duplex modular homes. Each unit will have all appliances including a washer and dryer. A one-stall garage and patio make the units feel more like a home than an apartment.
“Last fall we were looking at a goal of keeping rent between $450 and $700,” adds Thomasson. “But now that our financing has been completed it is likely that the units will be even more affordable than our earlier projections.”
For more information on the Cascade project, contact Cascade Homes at 1-406-585-9230 and if you’re looking for information on the LSS project Thomasson can be reached at www.jthomasson@lssnd.org.