Project Updates and Community Impact
PROJECT TOUR | Johnson Ranch
Transcript: This is Johnson Ranch.
Johnson Ranch is one of my personal, favorite developments that we’ve ever done.
It started with an idea and a round table discussion where it was “What can we do to create workforce, affordable level housing inside of Rapid City? What can we do that doesn’t require subsidy?”
In other words, we don’t want to take money from the State Housing Development, we don’t want to take grant money, we don’t want to ask the City for TIF funds or additional dollars. What can we do to make this happen within the terms of the property and the zoning code that we have here?
So, what we did is we got together and we looked at it, we found a partner in a homebuilder who was equally committed to the idea as we were, and we went about it.
We worked through this entire process of master planning this property to determine, how can we get these lots at a point that we can sell them, to the builder, that the builder can hold our prices, and originally, we started with home prices at $160,000, which didn’t exist. You couldn’t buy a new home for that price in Rapid City before we started this development.
And it showed in sales.
In a matter of two years, we have sold out 80 single family lots. We have no more lots. This development is complete except for our commercial portions out front.
And that’s a testament to the demand and the need that was for this affordable housing.
The development itself also allowed us to do what we do best, which is look at the property, evaluate our location, our needs, the community’s needs, the local needs, and put together a master plan and then follow through on that master plan.
We have Saint Patrick Street, we have Highway 44, we have Elk Vale Road, we’ve got three incredibly busy streets which opens up the avenue for some commercial property. So, we presented a couple commercial lots up front. We’ve got a gas station that is bought and committed to building, we’ve got two lots here that are still available.
We’ve got MDR property. We’ve got five and a half acres behind us, that we’re currently in the process of grading, bringing up to grade to put in 150 units.
We were also able to work with RAI, Rural America Initiatives, and really help them out in a spot where they had done a lot of fundraising, they had moved forward, and they were at a point where they had grants on the line, they had all the balls in motion to create this brand new, beautiful facility, but they didn’t have a site they could utilize at that time.
So, what we were able to do is really help them out and donate a parcel of this property that we had set up for multi-family/MDR, and we were able to get it to them. They were able to build a brand new, state-of-the-art, beautiful facility to really help serve the people that they serve best.
We also were to do the same thing with the Abbott House, and provide that much needed housing for that special demographic of aging out foster kids that need that place to live in after they’ve aged out of the system, but they still need to support to finish out their early life. They need that place to go to live when they’re going to school, that intermediary housing before they’re truly able to go out on their own.
Right now we’re in the process of working with the City to construct a giant drainage channel. This channel is necessitated through some of the efforts in our design when we determined that there was a lot of drainage that was coming that was unaccounted for in the basins above. In order to make this safe, we worked with the City to identify #1 that there was a need for this drainage and that it hadn’t been accounted for but then #2 to really get this thing designed and work and get that property set aside so that we could build this and have this safe access for this drainage water to run all the way from over by Elk Vale down to Rapid Creek.
This development is on its last stages. We’re just finishing up our last phase which is this grading of this channel. It’s exciting that it was as successful as it is, and we hope to be able to continue along the same lines with some of our developments.
But, you know, as an example of teamwork with City Planning coming together, with having a motivated builder, with having a motivated developer, and a property owner, it shows that some of these items are not unobtainable, you can make them happen if everybody aligns up and puts a good plan together and then executes on that plan.
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