You have read in newspapers or heard on the evening news that housing is in a slump and new homes are not being built. The City of Sully developed Northridge Estates in 2007 consisting of 18 residential lots that are located west of the Lynnville-Sully Middle School. 

1-dollar-lots.jpgThere were 3 issues that justified this development.

1) There were no lots (maybe 1) available to construct a new home on within the city limits.
2) No private contractor was willing to make the construction investment to create building lots.
3) Our two school systems in town need to gain enrollment.

The latter issue is enough reason for doing the development.  Our community is fortunate to have a Christian and Public school system to choose from.   To increase enrollment, we must attract families with kids.  It is critical there be a new home construction option for them to consider besides the older (20+ years) that are typically for sale.  With both school systems experiencing declining enrollment, we must do everything possible to promote growth in the community.  If you look at communities where school systems have left, you will also find a community struggling to stay alive and active.  Your city council does not want to see that. 

The financial model used needs 1 lot sold per year.  This past June, there was no interest in any of the lots, nor any seen in the foreseeable future.  I congratulate the council for not sitting back and doing nothing, but rather taking a bold step to setup the $1 Northridge Estates Lot Program with Sully Development’s help.  The program’s goals and objectives are:
a)    Take a pro-active approach to stimulate interest in Northridge Estates and increase the possibility of constructing 1 new home a year.
b)    To have a program that is significantly different from any sales program in the surrounding communities (ie. Pella, Grinnell, Newton).
c)    Do not put the city’s financial condition at risk.  A yearly loan payment of $28,000 is required by the city.  $20,000 of the city’s 1 cent sales tax revenue was committed by the city, leaving $8,000.  One lot sold per year and a home constructed will satisfy this amount from the TIF dollars and $4,800 utility rebate Alliant pays the city for each home.
d)    Provide Home Realty with a sales tool that they can advertise and promote to create a “WOW” factor and calls of inquiry.

If you have questions about Northridge Estates or the $1 Lot Program, I and the council would welcome the opportunity to answer them.