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Apartments on the way

Earlier this month a housing study came back, saying that Detroit Lakes is in need of rental property. Several area developers are taking advantage of that and trying to fill that need immediately.

The four partners making up Stonebrook Apartments, LLP include developers Jim Buus and Brent Kuehne. Two others wished to remain behind the scenes. Buus and Kuehne are a part of the Downtown Crossing commercial development project in Detroit Lakes also.

“We knew the housing study was underway and in anticipation of the results, we had started planning to do our apartment project,” Buus said. “We waited for the report to come out to really reinforce what we were thinking and then decided to move forward with our project.”

The housing study came from Community Partners Research, Inc., out of Lake Elmo, Minn., and touched on several different housing aspects around Detroit Lakes. A need for rental property was one of the biggest findings in the study.

According to the study, in the 2010 Census, the rental rate in Detroit Lakes was 39.5 percent, well above the state average. In 2013, the rental housing inventory is estimated at 1,650 to 1,700 units in the city.

“We anticipated what the result was going to be,” Buus said of the rental housing need in Detroit Lakes. “But, if that report had come back and said, ‘no, no apartments are needed,’ then we would have not done our deal.”

The partnership’s plan is to build as many as five apartment buildings — 160 units total — over the next few years.

They plan to start on the first two buildings this fall.

Stonebrook Apartments, LLP owns a 9.5-acre site on the north side of Detroit Lakes near Pelican River Road and Stone Creek Drive. The site is just north of Highway 34 and east of M State.

The first two apartment buildings will have 69 units with a variety of bedroom configurations ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. 

“We think if the first one or two buildings fill up right away, we’re going to keep (building more),” he said. “We’ll see how quickly they get absorbed.”

For now though, they plan to start with one or two buildings and see where the rental demand goes from there.

“Our recent Downtown Crossing project demonstrated the strong demand for commercial space and we feel the residential demand is just as strong,” Buus said.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.