Sunset Court development underway

The new Sunset Court addition on the west side of Rock Rapids isn’t expected to be completed until 2020, but development of the area has already begun. The Rock Rapids City Council accepted the final plat for the affordable-housing area earlier this monthand turned the project over to private developer, Greg Popkes.

“We saw a need for this,” said Popkes’ daughter, Katie. “After the flood and all the people that were displaced and the homes that were demolished, we think that this will be really good for the community.”

Economic development director, Micah Freese, knows just how important the development is. “The community is still in a (housing) deficit. We lost 54 homes in the flood and have had 44 units constructed since then,” he explained. “Twenty-one of those were single-family homes.” According to Freese, a housing study done in 2016 shows the need for more. “The study tells us our needs from 2016-2025 of entry-level homes, which is $150,000 to $225,000, is 24 units.”

Popkes said they communicated with Freese who let them know about an area off South Sixth Avenue that was being designated for an affordable-housing project. “We decided to put a bid on the land to buy it and then develop it. It’ll have 10 lots and 10 homes,” explained Popkes.

Rock Rapids was designated as a distressed workforce last December, providing housing tax credits to any contractor/developer willing to develop affordable housing under $215,000. As the developer of Sunset Court, Popkes can work with Iowa Economic Development Authority to receive a state investment tax credit. “Having someone take advantage of this program is great,” said Freese.

The Sunset Court addition will be completed in 2020. In the meantime, houses will be constructed as soon as possible after the lots are purchased. “If four people were to commit right now, we’d just go with four houses to start,” said Popkes.

She said two people have already spoken for lots, and a few other people have expressed interest as well. The cost is $170,000 per home but will be higher if customers opt for any upgrades, such as a finished basement. There are two floor plan options for the main floor of each house, and each house will come with an unfinished basement.

“The layouts will be pretty similar across all 10 lots but there are a bunch of upgrade options and different colors that they can be painted and things like that,” said Popkes.

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