TOWER— This should be the summer that work finally gets underway on planned town homes at the city’s harbor here, although it won’t be until late summer based on a timeline approved by the …
TOWER— This should be the summer that work finally gets underway on planned town homes at the city’s harbor here, although it won’t be until late summer based on a timeline approved by the harbor committee this week.
The city’s portion of the work, which will include streets and utilities, should begin sometime in August, with the town home construction expected to get underway shortly thereafter.
City Engineer Matt Bolf said the wetlands permit is likely to ultimately determine when the project gets underway. The project can’t start until the permit is approved, and Bolf said it’s not clear when that will happen. “The permit applications were submitted in February,” he said. “I’ve still received no response to know if a review is even underway,” he added. Typically, he said, the wetland permits take six months to be approved.
In the meantime, the city and the developer, Tower Vision 2025, will need to approve an amended development agreement that includes much more detail than the original version signed by both parties in 2016. City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith said the city attorney had finalized the agreement, but it was not available at the meeting. “It will be sent directly to you,” Keith told Orlyn Kringstad and Jeremy Schoenfelder, both of whom attended via telephone.
As of Wednesday, the city had not provided the agreement to the developers and it was unclear if the agreement would require the developers to submit a letter of credit as had previously been suggested by some members of the harbor committee. The letter could still be a sticking point for the project, although the two parties set a goal of having a finalized development agreement in place by the end of May.
While on-site construction likely won’t get underway until late summer, Schoenfelder said actual construction on the town homes could begin earlier than that. The company has been working with a major modular home builder to pre-fabricate portions of the buildings off-site.
Kringstad said that could significantly reduce the timeframe for construction, potentially allowing the builders to have all twenty townhomes framed in before winter. While the buildings could be fabricated off-site, Kringstad said the modular approach could actually allow for more involvement from local contractors than under the original plan. Sourcing as many workers and as much material locally as possible is one of the goal’s set by Tower Vision, noted Kringstad.
The switch to a modular company was also driven by cost. With the price of building materials on the rise, the year’s delay in the start of construction on the project had significantly increased construction cost estimates on the project. The modular approach is expected to keep the project much closer to original price targets without sacrificing quality, according to Kringstad.
As for interest in the project, Kringstad said BIC Realty, which is handling sales, currently has a list of 50-55 identified parties with indicated interest. He said Tower Vision has been keeping in communication with the interested parties through a regular newsletter. The sales staff will be able to start converting those interested parties to actual buyers once the project plat is approved and legal descriptions are available. Kringstad said he and Schoenfelder are working with attorney Kelly Klun, in Ely, to put the finishing touches on the homeowners association documents, which are also needed for the signing of purchase agreements.
Bolf inquired about Common Interest Community documents, which also must be filed with and approved by the county before the project can start. Schoenfelder said they’re aware of the requirement and will submit the documents after the plat is approved.
Bolf said he expects comments on the plat from county planners within the next 2-3 weeks and said he’ll address any minor issues raised by the county himself. Anything more significant would likely need to come back to the city for revisions. The council will need to give final approval to the plat once the county signs off.
The harbor committee is set to meet again on Wednesday, June 6, at 11:30 a.m. at city hall.