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Will condominiums sell in Creston?

City council hears proposal from Atlantic developer to build at least 14 condominium units in the Cottonwood Subdivision

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 10:58 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 3, 2014 12:11 p.m. CDT
Caption
This is the front view of a condominium in Atlantic built by Don Sonntag — a private developer who has proposed building at least 14 condominiums like the one pictured above in the Cottonwood Subdivision.

The city of Creston purchased the site commonly known as Cottonwood Subdivision in 2007. However, not one home has been built on that 33-acre area since that purchase date seven years ago.

That could change soon, though.

A private developer from Atlantic recently made a presentation to Creston City Council Jan. 21. That developer — Don Sonntag — wants to build at least 14 condominium units in the Cottonwood Subdivision.

“It’s a beautiful site,” Sonntag said of the Cottonwood Subdivision. “There is no question about that. We have an almost mirror image site in Atlantic where we’ve built condominiums. It has a pond and wooded area behind all the units (in Atlantic) where you can see as many as 25 deer per day from your deck. It’s something everybody in Atlantic is pretty proud of.”

Sonntag told the council he has a vision of creating the same condominium area in the Cottonwood Subdivision in Creston. He’s proposing two different floor plans for those first 14 condo units built.

The first floor plan is 1,458 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths, double car garage and (unfinished) walkout basement. Estimated cost for that floor plan is $259,950.

The second floor plan is 1,229 square feet on a slab with two bedrooms, two baths, large one car garage with an estimated cost of $149,950. Sonntag said a second garage can be added to this floor plan for about $12,000.

He also mentioned all condos are stick built and would make a real effort to hire local subcontractors and purchase materials locally when building these condos.

“These will be quality condos,” Sonntag said. “I wouldn’t build anything that wasn’t quality, and I would welcome anyone who wants to come see the condominiums we built in Atlantic.”

Sonntag made special mention the condominiums do not have steps at the front door or garage entrance. Also, these condominiums include snow removal, lawn care, garbage pickup and other miscellaneous benefits with paid Association fees.

“These condos are ideal for young professionals,” Sonntag said. “They are convenient for people wanting to downsize, for people moving a loved one nearby during their retirement years because it’s my experience loved ones really don’t want to go to the nursing home until they absolutely have to. These condos meet the needs of several different age groups and are proven to stabilize housing in rural areas like Creston and Atlantic.”

Sonntag said the condominiums he will build give citizens the opportunity to purchase low-maintenance living. In turn, that will free up housing for families in the Creston area.

Sonntag proposes “if all goes well” after the first 14 condominiums are built, he would then build at least a dozen more condominiums in the second and third years of the contract with the city.

Will condos sell in Creston?

Sonntag admits Creston doesn’t have a lot of experience with condominiums right now. There are less than 20 condominiums in the entire city of Creston with the majority of them located on Townline Street just south of Southwestern Community College.

“So the question that we all face is, does that mean condominiums will be easy or tough to sell in Creston?” Sonntag said. “I’m willing to take the risk they will sell.”

Creston Mayor Warren Woods, City Administrator Mike Taylor and Union County Development Association (UCDA) Director Wayne Pantini all toured condominiums built by Sonntag when they visited Atlantic in September.

“These condos are absolutely beautiful,” Woods said.

Pantini said community feedback and surveys done by UCDA during his nine years have shown Crestonians have a strong demand for condominium living, but Pantini said the volume is still to be determined.

“That was the idea behind bringing Don to the city council,” Pantini said. “We want to know just how many citizens are interested in condominium living. UCDA and the city both want feedback. And if an agreement is put together between Don and the city, UCDA will serve as an information outlet as well as promote that development.”

If interested or would like more information on condominium living, contact Taylor at 641-782-2000 ext. 4 or Woods at 641-782-2000 ext. 5.

Who pays up front?

Sonntag has proposed paying for all of the infrastructure costs for the initial condominium construction upfront. Those infrastructure costs include sewer, public streets, sanitary, storm sewer, water and grading. That estimated cost is $1 million.

The city would then repay Sonntag for those infrastructure costs incrementally.

Sonntag is proposing the city pay for a third of the costs after half of the infrastructure work is complete, another third when all infrastructure work is complete and final third after the condominiums are purchase and structures are placed the tax role.

“This would all need to be negotiated,” Taylor said.

City council bus tour

Ultimately, Creston City Council will make the decision whether an agreement can be reached with Sonntag. Taylor said he’s currently organizing a bus tour so city council members and the public can travel to Atlantic and view the condominiums already developed by Sonntag.

“I’ll already agreed to pay for the whole trip,” Sonntag said.

Call Taylor at 641-782-2000 ext. 4 if you’d like to be part of the bus tour.

The council is taking Sonntag’s proposal under consideration and more discussion is expected at future city council meetings. Taylor also said there is a possibility other developers will present plans to the council in the future.

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Don Sonntag is a private developer from Atlantic. He began developing property in 1960 and has since built 175 condominiums in the Atlantic area.

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