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Newton makes strides in housing development

Published: Thursday, April 13, 2017 9:34 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2017 11:18 a.m. CDT
(Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News)
The newly constructed Progress Industries house boasts five bedrooms and 100 percent accessibility.

Housing has been a main focus of the city and community partners for the past several years and progress has been made in strides. From sold out builder lots to developers interested in multi-unit housing projects, Newton appears to be heading in the right direction.

Since the development of the Newton Housing Initiative, the city has seen a boon in builder homes filling out the housing subdivisions of Fountain Hills, Fairmeadows North, Denniston Knolls, Bradford Estates, Quail Ridge and Eastgate Meadows. With the completion of recent homes, the city is having to look to develop more builder lots, a long sought after problem in comparison to the years of drought with not a single housing start.

“The need for townhouses, upscale houses and newer homes were all identified,” Newton Housing Development Corporation Director Bruce Showalter said. “There were people who wanted to live in Newton but couldn’t find the kind of housing they wanted, so we were losing them to other communities.”

Since 2014, 17 new home constructions have been created with 12 of those in 2016. Along with the single-family housing, Newton Place Apartments senior housing has been constructed and opened, adding a much needed housing option in the city. Also, Jewel Tea Court Townhomes are currently under construction, answering the call from home-seeking residents.

Townhomes are also on the agenda for Cardinal Ridge, a subdivision at the former Newton Country Club. To jump start the project, the city purchased 4.25 acres west of the former clubhouse to build 18 high-quality townhomes.

“It’s exciting to see that because that’s been a specific need we’ve heard over and over again is people wanting high-quality townhome developments and not being able to find it,” Newton Director of Finance and Development Bryan Friedman said.

Another city project underway is the redevelopment of the historic Hotel Maytag building, a cornerstone in downtown. City council approved the purchase of the building in fall 2016 and work is currently underway to select a developer bring the structure back to life.

“That’s our effort in partnering with developers that have that market niche of high-quality apartments,” Friedman said. “Thirty-plus units there would help enhance the business and vibrancy of a downtown by having more residents living there.”

To continue the efforts, city council recently moved to renew the $10,000 cash incentive for homes built in Newton valued at more then $160,000. The incentive also includes a Get to Know Newton welcome package valued at more than $3,000.

“The city would like to keep momentum going and build on successful efforts,” Friedman said. “We’re seeing more activity than we’ve seen in years. We’re involving multiple new homebuilders who had never been in the Newton market before and we’re seeing that interest pick up. We’re on the upswing, but always striving for more.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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