Despite temperatures dropping into minus degrees, ice sheathing car windows and slicking roads, and snow and fog settling in to produce worsening visibility, housing and other construction is carrying through winter to meet market demands for the time being.
"In years past, as soon as the first snowfall hits people often pulled out," said Vicky Flagstad, who is the executive director of the Minot Association of Builders. "Now with different options available to them, most of them are ready to work all winter long."
One such company working through winter is Future Builders Inc., which is a Minot company. The company is currently partway through with a 42-unit twin-homes project in the Woodside community in southeast Minot. The project will have 31 one-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom homes.
Construction on the new Minot Aero Center hangar, by Minot’s R&K Contracters, Inc., will continue through winter to be ready for use as soon as possible.
"The first four units are already closed with occupancy," said Matt Geinert, an owner of Future Builders. There is another group of homes working as model homes that people can look at, and another group that is through framing and on the way.
"There will be units coming online from now until the middle of summer," Geinert said. The company works not only as a contracting and building company, but is also a land development company that manages its own properties.
"There are days when the windchill gets negative 15 (degrees) or below where we won't work outside," Geinert said of working through winter. "We try to have lots of interior projects workers can work on" instead, like small indoor remodeling or warrant work for homes they have already built."
The Stonebridge Farms neighborhood in northeast Minot will also see construction continue through winter. RHR Construction Inc., of Fargo, is clearing land and continuing on homes there and Jordan Custom Homes Inc. has ongoing homes there, as well.
"It's not typical" for us to work through winter, said Brett Rossell, operations manager for RHR, "but we had kind of a late start in that development so we're going to work ahead and try to have things ready for the spring market."
"It's a good, strong market and we enjoy being there," Rossell said of building in Minot. The company had built previously in the neighborhoods of 34th and 35th Avenues in southeast Minot. "It is nice to be working in your home state." The company is also building homes in Bismarck, Fargo and Dickinson.
"For the last five years, with the way the Minot housing market has been, we have been working through the winters," Geinert said. The oil boom in the western part of the state seems to be driving demand for new development.
By the end of November Minot had a year-to-date total of $207 million in permits. Moving closer to the oil, Dickinson had permits totaling $277 million. Williston, at the heart of the Bakken, had $388 million in permits for the same year-to-date range.
Back in Minot, homes aren't the only construction continuing to meet demand.
Construction for the new hangar at the Minot Aero Center on North Broadway, which broke ground in August, will continue through the winter and be put in use as soon as possible.
The Minot Convention & Visitor's Bureau lists four hotels The Magic City Inn, Comfort Suites, Hyatt House, and Hilton Garden that will continue to be constructed in the city through winter, which will join the 30 hotels and motels already in operation in the city. The opening dates for the four hotels being worked on are still to be determined.
"I can't see why (rising demand) wouldn't help" play a factor in building continuing through winter, Flagstad said. "Once a builder starts I can't see why they wouldn't get in and continue to build. ... The winters have become milder, though I know we're going through a cold period now, but the weather is moderating. If you've got sunshine and only slight wind then it's easier to be on the work site."