Staples in need of high end housing
Staples needs a lot more homes, especially apartments and houses on the higher end of the financial scale, according to a housing study by Michael Schoenecker of AdMark Resources.
He recommended immediately pursuing a new 24 unit apartment building with modern amenities such as a fitness center. He also said Staples should develop a package that makes building a new home in the city more attractive to builders.
The planned 34-unit townhome development will do a lot to help the housing situation, but more should be done to accommodate predicted growth, said Schoenecker.
The Staples Economic Development Authority (SEDA) commissioned the study, which was presented at the April 26 SEDA meeting. The study can be read online at the city’s web site, staples.govoffice.com.
Schoenecker set the study against historical data and current trends. He said home sales in the Staples zip code have been declining, with a median price of $70,000. He said 6.8 percent of homes in Staples are considered dilapidated and should be torn down. Another 10 percent need major repair and 35 percent need minor repair, with about half the homes considered sound. City Administrator Jerel Nelsen said they do have programs for people to fix up their homes, but some of the homeowners who need it the most don’t want to participate in the program.
Schoenecker also talked to employers but he found the lack of housing wasn’t hindering hiring, although employees indicated they wanted more choices. “Most of the upscale housing is leaving the community and going to the lakes and rivers,” said Schoenecker.
Because rents are so low, lower income people are taken care of, said Schoenecker. He said senior housing is also in good shape because Lakewood senior housing rent is low compared to other communities. He recommended one addition, a memory care unit to be added to the Lakewood Pines facility.
Schoenecker said new homes are unlikely to be built in Staples because there are very few lots available. He said any new homes would likely be on the north end of the city, where there is one housing development and more area to build. SEDA Board member Mike Isenberg said in most communities, new homes are more likely to be built near the periphery of the city, and wondered if combining two lots into one would help get new homes built in existing neighborhoods.
SEDA Board member Kevin Jenkins suggested the SEDA put together a package for developers and identify likely spots for new housing. Jenkins also did not want to compete with individual realtors, but Isenberg said the city has few buildable lots so he didn’t think it would be a conflict.
The SEDA Board agreed to develop a housing marketing package to present to developers, to go along with the housing study.
In other SEDA news
o Economic Development Director Melissa Radermacher said she is pursuing a city bike program, in which donated bikes are painted green and made available for anyone to ride for free.