Depot stands tall in slowdown
by Joni Astrup
At a time when home building in Elk River has just about ground to a halt, a Minnetonka developer is constructing a 53-unit apartment building.
Jeff Von Feldt, development manager at Duffy Development Co., said even though the housing market dipped for homes that are for sale, it hasn’t really slowed for the rental market.
The $8.5 million project is located near the Northstar train station in Elk River at Twin Lakes Road and 172nd Avenue. Von Feldt said the Northstar rail line was a big factor in the decision to build there.
Before starting a new development he said they look in areas with a history of strong job growth, and an area where they can tie into existing infrastructure and also be very close to some form of transportation.
“This particular site was high on our radar because of all of those attributes,” he said.
The building, called The Depot at Elk River Station, is considered workforce or affordable housing. Tenants must meet income guidelines which are up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income. While the numbers change every year, Von Feldt said under the current guidelines a family of four could make up to about $50,000 and still qualify to live there.
Leasing has been going on for about three months and 49 of the 53 units are spoken for, he said. “It doesn’t mean they’re approved to move in yet,” he added.
The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in mid-June.
It includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units. There is underground parking, with each unit assigned one stall. There also is one stall in the underground parking area designated as a car wash area, Von Feldt said.
The facility also includes an outdoor playground, a fourth-floor exercise facility, a community room and an on-site management office.
Solar panels on the roof are an unusual feature of the project. Von Feldt said the solar panels will preheat water before it goes into the water heater, reducing energy costs.
Duffy Development owns and manages more than 600 units throughout the Twin Cities in communities such as Maple Grove, Chaska, Forest Lake, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Woodbury and Coon Rapids. This is the first building where they have installed solar panels, he said.
Duffy Development is the developer of the project and will be the manager. The building is being constructed by Lumber One in Avon.
Click here to read a related story on development in Elk River.