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Housing project moves forward

By Staff | Apr 15, 2013

The city of Rugby’s new housing development planned in conjunction with the Job Development Authority is moving ahead and the lots should be available to the public soon pending project approval from the city council next week.

Bids were opened on April 1 for the job, which was split into a base bid and an alternate, which included the west side of the project in southeast Rugby.

Park Construction of Minneapolis submitted the lowest bids on both projects and Interstate Engineering recommended awarding the contract to Park Construction at the April 1 meeting of the Rugby City Council.

In total there were 11 bidders, with Park’s bid of $2,104,826.60 coming in just below the engineer’s estimate of $2,131,032.50. The project was bonded at a cost of around $2.8 million, which will include contigencies engineer’s fees.

“I feel the engineers did a heck of a job for us,” said City Council President Arland Geiszler. “There were 11 bidders and the successful bidder was within a few hundred dollars of the engineer’s estimate. That’s what we were hoping for.”

Bids ranged greatly, with Quam Construction of Willmar, Minn., entered the highest bid at $3,201.485.50.

Before the bid is awarded, both the JDA, which owns the property, and city needed to determine whether to fund the entire project or just the west half.

The JDA board, meeting on April 2, recommended to go forward with the entire project, which will provide 52 lots, mostly for single family dwellings (R-1), but some for multi-family dwellings (R-2).

Geiszler expects the city will take the recommendation and development will move forward on what is called Chalmers First Addition.

“At this point, when the council made their recommendations (in December) based with what JDA said to support the whole project, I think that still holds,” he said. “The majority of the council will, I’m sure, support the JDA’s decision to go forward with the whole project.”

The lots will be put out for bid for two weeks in the Pierce County Tribune, with the opportunity to purchase single lots or groups of five or more lots.

The JDA also passed a request for purchase proposals which must be followed by bidders. The minimum bid for the lots is expected to be $7,500 per lot or $5,000 per lot for groups of five lots or more. Buyers will also be responsible for taxes, including special assessments on the properties.

Geiszler expects there will be plenty of interest in the lots initially, but said local officials understand that it will likely take years for all of the 52 lots to be purchased and filled.

“I think there will definitely be that initial interest for people that are looking for the lots and the multi-housing developers will show interest and there will be some activity,” he said. “From the city’s perspective, we wanted something that would be inviting and people could purchase nice lots at a good price. We’re all aware this project won’t be developed in the next 5-6 years. I think everyone knows about that going in.”

The city appears committed to using funds from its infrastructure fund to bring utilities to the development, which Geiszler believes will cost between $375,00 and $425,000.

“From the city standpoint, we’ll be participating in bringing the services in the development area,” he said. “The sewer, lift station and water.”

The JDA also passed a list of protective covenants that will govern construction in the Chalmers First Addition.

Included in the list are a number of rules for land use, temporary structures and home types, which are standard for new developments.

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