Work to continue through winter on first 76 units, interest from several states
Before the first spade of dirt has been turned, the e-mails are piling into Storm Lake at the rate of at least three or four every week from people interested in the new condominium living project planned for the Sunrise Pointe Golf Course.
Steve Brashears, who is handling the marketing of the project for the city, is enthused by the response.
"We have heard from people in California, Arizona, Ohio, Nevada - these are people who perhaps have some tie to the Storm Lake region or are familiar with the region, and in many cases they have been following the AWAYSIS project from the beginning," Brashears said.
There has also been a demand for the units from Storm Lakers who may be considering selling their homes in favor of a condominium lifestyle.
"There really is no such thing as a typical buyer in this project - I've even heard from two families who own homes on Okoboji, who frankly are concerned about having their families doing jet skis and such things on the lake there, and are looking for a lake situation that would be a little bit quieter and calmer as a summer place," he added.
So far, people have only been able to put their names on a reservation list for the condo units. Details of pricing and availability are just now being finalized.
The developer, Regency Commercial Services of West Des Moines, hopes to begin the project within the next two weeks.
Soil testing showed problems with the subsoil stability, which slowed the project's beginnings somewhat. Plans are now complete for stabilizing the soil, so that site work can begin.
Brashears said the work on the development will begin yet this fall, and the developer plans to continue building right through the winter. Original plans called for the condominium buildings to open at the same time as its King's Pointe neighbors in the spring, but it is now more likely that they will be ready at mid-summer of 2007.
Current plans call for two of the three three-story buildings to be built initially - a center building with 43 units and one of the two side buildings with 33 units.
If demand is strong, the other side building will be added for another 33 likely units - for up to 109 available units.
After the planning period, the locals are pleased to see the project getting underway. Representatives of the developers arrived in Storm Lake Thursday to go over the site with engineers from local firm Kuehl and Payer. The developer's project manager has moved into Lakeside.
A few final tweaks are being made to the design work, with floorplans expected to be released in the next couple of weeks.
Each building will be three stories tall, with elevators and upscale amenities. They will offer what is exceptionally rare in Iowa - housing with both a golf course and a natural lake view.
"These will really be nice looking buildings. From the preliminary designs I have seen so far, the look will be stone and cedar, with large decks, and lots of dormers and peaks and valleys in the roofline - they are not plain, squarish buildings at all, and they should fit in and complement the lodge style well," Brashears said.
A water feature pond with amenities is also planned, and will be open for public use.
Earlier, the project was somewhat controversial, as both the Parks Advisory Board and City Council acted with some expressed reluctance to sell off the area of public land for the housing. The land has been a part of the golf course, on the ridge overlooking the lake.
The project was slated to bring in a million dollars, which would help to finance other elements of Project AWAYSIS, as well as to provide some needed additional housing options and raise prospects for additional property tax revenue for the future. No additional land will be sold, city officials have said. The city had to make some financial concessions, however, as it was found that the subsoil would need additional work to allow for the construction.
"That threw a wrench into things, but we are through that now," Brashears said.
Marketing brochures are in the works, and a Des Moines marketing firm has been retained. Brashears plans to coordinate local marketing efforts with Stacey Eddie of King's Point in order to deliver a double-barreled promotion for Storm Lake and its quality of life. "We will be going to some home shows and those type of things to help get the word out about what Storm Lake has to offer," he said.
Price range for the condo units has yet to be determined, but preliminary estimates would have units starting in the $160,000 range with a few elite units possibly reaching or surpassing $300,000.