Spring Creek Townhomes

The Spring Creek Townhomes were constructed in Northfield in 2013 and quickly rented out. A second phase, which could break group this spring, has a funding gap developers hope the Rice County Board of Commissioners will help fill. (File photo/southerminn.com)

A Northfield housing project needing an infusion of cash to move forward has gotten a hand from the Rice County Board of Commissioners

The board on Tuesday unanimously approved spending up to $325,000 to meet an unanticipated funding gap. Money will come from the county’s portion of federal American Rescue Fund, dollars to be spent to limit the impacts of COVID-19.

According to Chris Flood, community development officer for Three Rivers Community Action, which is leading the Spring Creek townhomes II project, the agency was initially awarded $8.6 million to construct 32 housing units. Eight are scheduled to have two bedrooms, 22 are planned to as three-bedroom units, and two are to have as four bedrooms.

Four units will be allotted for the Northfield Community Action Center. Another four will be for people with developmental disabilities through a partnership with Rice County Adult Services and Laura Baker Services Association.

To ensure the project’s affordability, 24 units will be home to residents making below 60% of the area median income. Eight will be at 30% or under.

Bids have been higher than expected and there were issues with a contractor so it needed to be rebid, leading to even higher costs.

While other reductions could be made, that would jeopardize the tax credits or mean the project wouldn’t meet city standards.

Commissioners last week and on Tuesday questioned why the per unit cost is above the cost of building market-rate units.

Flood explained that the project received a score based on the inclusion of energy-efficient amenities, and that excluding them now would likely threaten the tex credits, thereby killing the project.

Three Rivers hopes to break ground next spring.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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