April 22, 2014

2014 will be year of housing construction

By Stephanie Norman
Farmer Staff Writer

For individuals and families seeking affordable and more permanent housing in the Watford City area, the wait will soon be over. Word on the street from seven builders is that there will be nearly 1,000 new living quarters, that will be move-in ready, by Dec. 31.
Just because families are moving to the Bakken seeking an increased income doesn’t mean they want to blow their hard-earned money paying price-gouged rent prices.
Total, the seven builders and developers stated there should be roughly 398 apartment units, 281 duplexes, 244 townhouses and 129 single family homes built in 2014.
Currently, families with multiple children are forced to cram into RV campers and trailers simply because there is nowhere else for them to live. On the flip side, the Bakken workers could leave their families back at home in whichever state they may have came from. But let’s be honest, who really wants to do that?
As Dr. Dick Gardner with the Center of Rural Entrepreneurship stated last week, “This is an industry, not just a simple oil boom.”
If Watford City and McKenzie County are going to strive for excellence and be a place for families to settle, then the infrastructure needs help desperately.
Housing options need to be a priority. And right now, it’s trailer after trailer lined up for people to live in. Not only that, but people are paying more than $1,200 per month, to live in a trailer the size of some people’s home bathrooms.
“We really need to pull through and perform,” Jason Vedadi with Titanium Builders said. “Watford City obviously needs more housing options. We strive to move forward toward permanent housing.”
Vedadi said Titanium Builders plans to have 40 single family homes ready for move-in by December at Hunter’s Run, located north of Power Fuels.
Along with single family homes, Hunter’s Run will feature 75 townhouses, a 100-unit apartment complex, and 40 duplexes ready for move-in by the end of the year, according to Vedadi. There will also be 180 apartments in the Roers complex within Hunter’s Run.
“We’re trying to offer a mixed-use master plan to the town,” Vedadi said. “Hopefully, it will be something Watford City and the community can be proud of.”
Mike Malais with Tara Estates said they plan to have 32 duplexes ready for move-in this year, which comes out to be 64 units. Each one will have three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms.
Five miles southwest of Watford City, Tara Estates is also going to offer 30 “single family, quality modular homes” this year, Malais said. Each one will feature a garage and have its own one-acre lot. Basements are optional and there will be many more homes provided in the next couple of years from Tara Estates.
“We’ve had a bit of a late start this building season because this winter has been horrific,” Malais said.
According to Mark Bragg with Bakken Housing Partners, there will be 144 townhouses going up near the new high school lot in the Fox Hills Subdivision. Nearly 100 of them will be ready for occupancy this year. There are already two apartment complexes up and running through Bakken Housing at this location and another one going up this summer, which will provide approximately 100 more apartment units.
“We have been working with the high school and the engineering firm to coordinate the land,” Bragg said. “We are delighted to be able to build housing so close to where the new high school will be.”
Bragg said they are working to keep their housing affordable for the public.
“We are also going to start building a Main Stay suite hotel when the ground thaws,” Bragg said. “It will have 89 extended stay rooms.”
Another company, Bayfront Builders, has been in the Bakken for three years, Jeff Hausmann said. They currently have a 40-acre site with 59 single family homes already up and occupied, known as Pheasant Ridge, just north of the Catholic Church.
“We were the first builders in Watford City to have land annexed through the city,” Hausmann said. “It has been quite a ride and we continue to build here because we see lots of potential and the need.”
Last week, the first of three apartment complexes broke ground at Pheasant Ridge, Hausmann said. It will provide 48 units by December. In addition to that, they hope to have 40 townhouses up for rent by the end of the year as well.
“Our new apartments will set the standard for quality housing and layout,” Hausmann said. “Our townhouses will be run by a homeowners association and all external maintenance will be taken care of.”
North of Watford City, Robin Greenhaugen, owner of Blue Bison Construction, said there should be 70 split-level duplexes ready for occupancy over the next several months, as well as 40 single family homes, each featuring its own two-car garage.
“We plan on them all being open by the end of the year with more development coming in 2015,” Greenhaugen said.
With all of this talk of housing options going vertical this year, John Poukish with Misty Creek Homes said they have 72 units already built and they will be ready to purchase in May.
“We offer affordable housing,” Poukish said. “We want to cater to families at a reasonable price point so people can live here with their families. Our duplexes are built - now we just need buyers.”
Located near the existing water storage tanks in Watford City, Valley View is working on The Highlands on 43 acres of land, which will feature a combination of single family homes, townhouses, duplexes and apartments.
“The Highlands will offer neat and valuable amenities,” Adam Berger with Valley View said. “We are very excited to be working in Watford City. There is some great leadership living and working here.”
Berger said they plan to have at least 37 duplexes and 79 townhouses ready for move-in by the end of this year.
“It really depends on how quickly builders work,” Berger said.
Along with the housing option in The Highlands, the neighborhood will feature a three-acre city park.
“We are grading the land to make a snow sledding hill, an ice-skating pond, a running trail and a playground,” Berger said. “We are providing water service for the pond.”
With such a hard winter this year, Watford City unfortunately, saw a lot of construction be put on hold or slowed down.
Many people are on waiting lists to move into apartments, duplexes or homes in town. There are even waiting lists for some apartments that aren’t even done being built.
Only time will tell how many of these projected housing opportunities will actually be complete and ready for occupancy this year.
Maybe by the end of the year some of those families struggling to bathe more than one person in a camper with only five minutes of hot water will get to live in ideal living conditions. After all, this is not a third world country.