by Joni Astrup
A sluggish townhome market in Elk River has prompted a developer to rethink plans for the Kliever Lake Fields housing development.
Tim Pomerleau of Meadow Creek Builders has received permission from the Elk River City Council to build 21 smaller-lot, single-family homes on 6 acres at the southwest corner of 181st Avenue and Fillmore Street. The 21 homes will replace seven multi-unit townhome buildings, totaling 42 units that had been planned. Pomerleau indicated those townhomes are not presently viable to build new.
“Since the housing market crash starting several years ago, the market for this type of unit has suffered greatly,” Pomerleau wrote in a letter to the city. “There are many townhome foreclosures in the area that are selling for well below what we could build them for new. The townhome market is still healing and until that comes back in this area, it is not in anybody’s best interest to put brand new townhomes on the market that may not sell for quite some time.”
The property was originally platted in 2005 and five of the 12 multi-unit townhome buildings intended for the site were constructed. The remaining structures were not built.
The homes now planned for the site are considered single-family detached townhomes. They will be one level, 1,440-square-feet stand-alone homes with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage and a starting price of $180,000. Each will have a private driveway and the lot will be large enough for an optional porch and patio. Open green space and drives will be maintained by a homeowners association.
“We are seeing really good signs with this type of reduced-lot, single-family home, and there are neighborhoods similar to the one we are proposing that are having great success all over the metropolitan area, including the north and northwest metro,” Pomerleau wrote in his letter to the city.
Jeremy Barnhart, Elk River’s deputy director of community operations and development, said the proposed housing style is not prevalent in the city and offers an alternative to attached townhomes and detached larger-lot, single-family homes.
Council Member Paul Motin voted against a zone change and conditional use permit for the project. He was concerned about putting some of the homes too close to Fillmore Street.