It was more than a little stuffy in the skeletal new Amber Meadows home Wednesday afternoon. That didn’t keep Ross Vogel from painting a detailed picture of just how the house would look when it was completed.
Vogel, owner of Employer Housing Partners LLC. of Kansas City, Mo., joined Great Bend City Administrator Howard Partington, Mayor Mike Allison and Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters for a tour of the new development Wednesday afternoon. The developer said he will have 10 homes at various stages of construction by Monday.
This project is near and dear to the hearts of city officials. Great Bend faced a severe housing shortage prompting the City Council 18 months ago to pick solving this as a top priority.
“All projects are a collaboration,” Vogel said. “But this one has been a great one.”
He has even coined a name for the partnership. “I call it the Great Bend Model,” he said, adding he is using it elsewhere now.
“This is a unique way of doing this,” Partington said. The city owned 19 lots in Amber Meadows and Vogel bought 10 that he is currently developing, seven of which are already under contract.
However, the city is putting in the sidewalks, streets and sewers. The city also applied for and received Rural Housing Incentive District status for certain areas of town, including Amber Meadows, through the Kansas Department of Commerce.
An RHID is a KDC program designed to aid developers by assisting in the financing through tax credits. RHIDs are available for any small- to medium-sized city in Kansas.
Vogel said he hopes to have all 10 homes done by the end of the year.
These houses will have 1,400 square feet of living space on the main floor, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and nine-foot ceilings with an open floor plan. There is also a full unfinished basement and a two-car garage.
Although these are not custom homes, buyers can pick from three floor plans and a selection of interior and exterior decor options, Vogel said. The cost will be $189,000.
This price point is important, he said. This is what the city originally envisioned when it started Amber Meadows, however, the earlier homes built there were a lot pricier than that.
Vogel’s remaining four homes can be bought through any local real estate agency.
Partington said the remaining lots can be purchased from the city. The new owner can also select their own contractor and house design, as long as it fits the city’s basic guidelines.
Homes must be in the $150,000-220,000 range, and consist of between 1,200 and 1,800 square feet on the main floor. There are other requirements as well.
“This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the city and chamber, Vogel said