Affordable homes, rentals and senior housing are tough to find in Jordan.

In 2016, rental housing vacancy rates were “very low” in Scott County, according Mary Bujold, a researcher at Maxfield Research and Consulting who did a housing study of Jordan.

She said new housing is rare since it takes 18 to 25 months for it to come to fruition and there is still lots of demand for affordable rental housing in Scott County.

But the Jordan City Council is taking some steps to add more senior housing and affordable apartments in the area.

Senior housing

The Scott County Development Agency is working with the city to build a multi-family senior building at 451 and 501 Seville Drive, next to Brentwood Court Senior Housing, which is owned by the CDA.

At the most, the building would have 65 units. City Administrator Tom Nikunen said they plan to make it the same price as Brentwood. Currently, prices start at $782 for a one bedroom apartment and $1,402 for a large two-bedroom apartment.

Nikunen said so far the city has rezoned the area and it will be very similar to Brentwood. He said the current Brentwood Court apartments were priced competitively and as of November had between 25 to 30 people on the waiting list.

“If we want affordable senior housing, we need to work with the CDA to get that done because it’s hard for another developer to come in and build that product and make it at the rate that they can provide,” he said.

In May, Lynette Hennen, 65, had been looking for an affordable senior home in Jordan for a year, with no luck and lots of frustration. With a budget of $800 per month, she looked at various senior options n the city and found they were either over budget, or didn’t fit her needs.

She wanted to stay in Jordan to be close to her children and grandchildren. As of November, Hennen has not been able to find a place.

Affordable rentals

In September, the Jordan City Council approved the final plant for Pineview Townhomes, north of 185h Street West and west of County Road 9. Construction began in the fall.

In July, the council approved $266,100 in tax increment financing over a 13-year term, which was requested by Schrom Construction to build the development. TIF is an urban financing tool that diverts the new property taxes generated by the development back into the project, usually for public things like utilities.

Six units would be rent-controlled for residents whose incomes are 50 percent less than Jordan’s median income of about $66,000. Renters would pay $975 per unit. The other 22 units wouldn’t be income restricted, but would likely still be affordable.

It will have five buildings spread across 2.84 acres, with 28 townhomes. The project is slated to be done by Sept. 30.

Since June, Julie Hackett and her two teenagers have called Sandlewood Studios and Suites in Shakopee home because she couldn’t find an affordable rental.

With a budget of $1,400 per month for a three-bedroom place, she was paying $1,600 to stay at the hotel with her children Damon, 15, and Monica, 17.

“It’s not the most affordable thing in the world, but it’s at least a roof over our head and utilities,” Hackett said.

But moving out of Jordan wasn’t an option, with Monica close to graduating next year and a desire to let Damon finish at Jordan High School, too.

“I would really like him to stay with his friends, but it’s just finding housing is ridiculous, it’s not easy,” she said.

Hackett has not yet found a rental in Jordan and was looking in Belle Plaine as of November.

Proposed affordable family homes

In September, the council reviewed a concept plan for 30 affordable single family homes at 6380 190th St., which could potentially house seniors. The property is about 10 acres and the area is zoned for industrial use.

Council members raised concern about losing the industrial space to housing when the city already has a limited supply of industrial land. Discussion quickly turned to the city’s need for affordable housing and what it will need in the future, which could be industrial land.

Council member Jeff Will said the likelihood of having more light industrial land is bleak, and questioned whether the city wanted to give up the land.

Council member Robert Whipps said he liked the idea of affordable homes, but didn’t know if it was the best location.

“I agree that this style of housing is something that would be useful in Jordan, particularly for seniors,” Whipps said.

It took Liz Momyer about a year to find a three-bedroom house for less than $250,000 when she moved from Shakopee to Jordan with her two children. During a year of searching, Momyer found just three homes within her budget.

“With the ones we did find, like two of them were off the market in like three days, so you had to go look at the house and literally even if you hated it, put in a offer just in case you didn’t find anything else,” she said in June.

Turnover is rare in Jordan — when people move to the city, they tend to stay, Momyer said.

“The glaring deficiency in town is affordable housing and senior housing,” Councilman Jeremy Goebel said. “And now you see that they’re doing Sawmill and all the other developments in Stonebridge, those are unfortunately not the homes that we really need — it’s great that we’re having it and the growth is awesome, but the hardest ones to get here are the affordable.”

Sarah Wynn is from Chicago where grew up on deep dish pizza before making the move to attend the University of Missouri's Journalism School. After a few stints in London and New York City (NY style pizza may beat Chicago), she moved to Minnesota.

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