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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Awaysis condos project could triple to 111 units, scenic pond proposed

Monday, June 5, 2006

On Monday, the Storm Lake City Council will be asked to approve a million-dollar land sale that would pave the way for a condominium development on the municipal golf course that could be more than triple what the city had envisioned.

Regency Commercial Services made the most attractive bid to buy the land - the one million dollars on the button that the city had hoped to receive. But instead of the 30 condo units split between three buildings that the city had projected at a minimum, Regency says it can build 111 condo units in the same 3.39 acres of previously public land.

Project AWAYSIS Director Mike Wilson said city officials will have to ensure that such a project could be done on the site footprint without breaking any construction codes, presuming the city council approves the land sale at Monday evening's meeting.

Regency proposes three three-story buildings, two with 33 units and a third with 45. Parking with room for 130 spaces would be built underground. There would be no garages and only about 50 parking spaces above ground.

It is estimated the condos, averaging about 1,300 square feet plus balconies, would sell for between $169,900 and $289,900 in the private development.

The buildings would be brick and cobblestone exterior with painted siding, shakes and iron railings, designed to mesh with the rest of the AWAYSIS project area.

The developer proposes to add streetscaping, lighting and a pedestrian-friendly area around the buildings.

An unexpected feature is a pond featuring a small island accessed by bridges, including a gazebo and fountains. The pond would be created on city land just south of the condo site, at the cost of the developers. The area would be both attractive and environmentally functional as a retention pond, planners say.

Fifty-three potential developers were contacted for the project, but only two firms bid to buy the land to develop condos by the deadline Wednesday. The other bid came from Leisure Development, an arm of the same company that has been hired to run the lodge.

Regency is a subsidiary of Regency Homes of Des Moines, currently Iowa's largest builder of homes. Dan Pomrenke, a Storm Lake native now living in the Twin Cities, is a partner in the plan

If all goes as planned, construction could begin in July.

Wilson said city officials were somewhat surprised at the large number of units that emerged in the Regency plan. "It takes some time to get your mind around the idea that so many units could be done on that space, but these people are the experts, and they are quite confident they can do it and that the demand will be there for that many condos."

The more units, the more potential property tax revenue.

Regency's recent work includes the Wild Rose Casino and Resort in Emmetsburg, Westgate Business Park in Waukee, Water's Edge Shopping Center in Pleasant Hill and the Avenue of the Arts development in West Des Moines, along with many residential sites. The 20-year-old company now has operations in four states.

The development has been somewhat controversial, as several citizens have protested the city sale of public land during discussions earlier, and the city council members said they would vote to do so only under one-time circumstances and with considerable reluctance.

The golf course will close after mid-July for a major redesign.

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