Additional homes soon will be going up in north Minot in what is slated to become the city's first master-planned community.
The $400 million Northern Lights Development will provide more than 3,000 residential units once built out, which is expected to take four or five years. The first of the homes will be available in November.
A master-planned community is a community within a community. Northern Lights will offer residential, retail and office developments, a school and park. Erik Ramstad School is being constructed in what will be the middle of the 323-acre project located between 31st and 36th avenues northwest and between Broadway and the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass.
A construction worker places a marker pole next to a basement under construction in the Northern Lights Development Thursday while equipment moves dirt at the site.
Contractors work at the site of new Erik Ramstad Middle School Thursday.
Joe Genovese, president of Genco Bakken Development, called his company's project a "game-changer for Minot neighborhoods."
"It's laid out in a way that it provides a mix, from high-end single-family homes to apartments and commercial services. The word to use is 'community,'" he said.
Genco Bakken has more than 15 years of experience with planned communities in the southwestern states. Since coming to North Dakota a few years ago, the company has invested more than $10 million in infrastructure. It is currently developing communities in Williston and has plans for communities in Fargo, Jamestown and Bismarck-Mandan.
Genco Bakken is partnering with Champion Home Builders, a leading manufacturer in modular construction.
Modular homes are built to state or local buildings codes in a controlled factory environment in sections, or modules. Modules then are transported and placed on permanent foundations.
Champion, based in Troy, Mich., will be manufacturing the homes for Northern Lights at plants in Indiana and Idaho. Once homes are on site, the company will hire local professionals to build garages and complete other related construction.
Under construction since June, Northern Lights will hook into city storm sewer and sanitary sewer currently under construction. As the sewer work nears completion, the developers are getting ready to put homes onto about 110 acres in the Idlewood and Statesboro neighborhoods.
Idlewild will offer 248 single-family ranch-style and two-story homes, and Statesboro will have 250 one- and two-story townhomes. Designs include a mix of three- and four-bedroom layouts with large master bedrooms, walk-in closets and a minimum of two full bathrooms. Each home will feature an open floor plan, energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency heating systems and insulation, two- or three-car garages and craftsman-style architectural details.
The single-family homes will range from 1,460 to 2,200 square feet and the townhomes will range from 1,350 to 1,500 square feet, Prices will start at about $220,000 for the townhomes and $260,000 for the single-family homes, according to the company's website.
Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said Northern Lights will be a welcome addition to north Minot.
"What they are doing is going to be really good for that area of town and for people that want to live in that area," Zimbelman said, noting that master-planned communities are the way of the future.
Modular homes also may have a place due to the need for more affordable housing in Minot, he said.
Modular construction reduces build time and enables savings to be achieved through economies associated with factory construction and engineering and volume purchases of building materials. Champion states that its homes are built by experienced craftsmen and are continually inspected during construction to ensure compliance with building codes and quality standards.
"Aesthetically, they have met the present-day demands," added John Myles, superintendent with Northern Lights. "They are very beautiful. They will look very nice in the market place."
Model homes will be available for public viewing by the end of October. Champion is offering eight single-family home plans, although each plan also includes various exterior and interior options. Buyers will have a choice of basements or crawl spaces. Both single-family home and townhome buyers will be able to make choices regarding the finishing of the interiors.
A portion of the development also is earmarked for custom homes.
Developers are considering an apartment complex or a mixed-use building with rental units above retail shops. Champion builds modular multi-family and commercial buildings as well single-family and townhomes.
Northern Lights' commercial construction will begin next year. An area south of the school will be developed for small retail and offices. The portion of the property next to the bypass will be suited to attract big box stores and larger retail.
The main thoroughfare through the development will be 30th Avenue, which is being built as a five-lane road. Traffic signals will be installed on 30th Avenue at 16th Street and the bypass.