The First and Second Congressional Subdivisions became a controversial subject in Grand
Forks late in 1998. The subdivisions are located at the west edge of the city, west of I-29,
in an area untouched by the 1997 flood. About 180 new homes were built here after the flood
by several local contractors working for Grand Forks Homes, using 49 different floor plans.
Prices range from $105,000 to $147,000. As of February, 1999, only 12 homes had been sold.
After the flood, the city of Grand Forks estimated that about 1000 homes would be lost permanently because of the flood and the upcoming dike construction. Whole neighborhoods had been destroyed. Before the flood, the supply of housing had been limited. Where were people going to live?
The city's response was to enter into a partnership with a private nonprofit organization, Grand Forks Homes, to develop the First and Second Congressional Subdivisions. The city provided part of the financing for the project from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds received after the flood. The rest of the money was borrowed from Fannie Mae and by issuing tax exempt bonds. The borrowing was to be paid off with the proceeds from the sale of the houses. Unfortunately, the proceeds from the sale of 12 houses will not make too many payments.
Why didn't the houses sell? Possible reasons include:
The Congressional subdivisions became a controversial subject in December, 1998, when Grand Forks Homes asked City Council for $400,000 to pay an outside consultant to develop a marketing plan. The request was disapproved after considerable citizen opposition. Instead, a local advisory committee was established to come up with marketing ideas. Also, radio station KCNN received a $150,000 contract for marketing the Congressional subdivisions. The radio station will give away a house as part of the promotion.
Here are some of the ideas suggested to help sell the Congressional Subdivision homes:
In April, Grand Forks Homes lowered the prices of the unsold homes by an average of $17,500 per home. The prices now range from $89,800 to $126,200. As of May 27, 1999. a total of 31 homes have been sold, and there are now 74 additional offers pending on Congressional homes. If all current offers are accepted, over one half of the homes would be sold.
Construction of Second Congressional, April, 1998.
More Congressional Subdivisions Photos
Executive Summary of Grand Forks Homes, Inc. (Grand Forks Herald)
Go house hunting online... (Locations, floorplans, and prices online)
KCNN Dream Home (Win a house)
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