4 new apartment complexes coming to New Ulm

NEW ULM – New apartment buildings are going up in New Ulm because several major developers are moving on their projects. The New Ulm City Council advanced several of these projects on Tuesday by approving TIF districts and local permits.

The four new apartment complexes will bring a combined total of nearly 200 rental units. Each of the developers is building a project that targets different areas and demographics.

Eagle Development, LLC is targeting the over 55-years old demographic with a building at the end of the South Minnesota Street downtown area.

Steve Harmening is targeting the more upscale apartment demographic with a complex on South Broadway across from Hy-Vee.

Doneff Companies is building an apartment complex at 1520 Sunset Ave., which provides regular rental rates but will market to MLC grads and WELS retirees.

Winkelman Building Corporation is seeking to build apartments targeted at assisted living residents behind the former Kmart building, near Orchard Hills.

Three of the four apartment complexes have sought a TIF district. Harmening’s development near Hy-Vee is not currently planning to seek a TIF district. The other three projects are at different stages in obtaining a TIF district. City officials have indicated support for the TIF requests.

TIF districts are economic development tools because there is no cost to cities. They are funded through a partial refund to the businesses on their property taxes. The idea is the taxes would not exist without the project; therefore, the city’s existing revenues are not impacted and the city eventually gains new tax income when the TIF ends.

Although the TIFs will not require a certain number of jobs to be created like a municipal loan program, they will require the three apartment buildings to rent 20 percent of the units to people earning less than 50 percent of the Brown County median family income. The number of lower-income rental housing this requirement will provide is still in flux. Estimates are that there will be 24 to 30 units at a rate of 8 to 10 apartments per project.

Progress and plans for apartment buildings

Eagle Development received Council approval of its needed Conditional Use Permit on Tuesday. The Council also approved city employees to start drawing up paperwork for a TIF district. Construction will start this fall, with a target opening date in late 2014.

The project will be a three-story, 39-unit apartment complex that requires renters to be 55-years old or older, though there is possibility for the apartments it must provide under the TIF requirements will be given exceptions. The complex will provide underground and outdoor parking that is accessed through the alley between Minnesota Street and German Street. It will also provide outdoor recreation area and indoor community space.

The Denoff project received approval on Tuesday that the project was consistent with the City’s General Development Plan. The project has progressed significantly through its TIF paperwork.

The Winkelman project is nearly done with its TIF application and sought to modify the terms of its district to account for its increased scope. The building was originally planned as a two-phase project starting with 35 units. It has been changed to an one-phase project with 42 units. The parking designs for 15 garage lots and 46 surface spaces was upgraded to 42 underground parking lots and 47 surface lots. The larger project means Winkelman will now increase from recapturing $450,000 over the course of the multiple years of the TIF to recapturing $550,000.

The TIF?paperwork for all the projects is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at jmoniz@nujournal.com)

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