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Rendering for downtown 113-unit apartment project

Monday, Mayor Bill Schickel announced a plan with Talon Development out of Sioux Falls, S.D. to bring a $10 million, 133-unit apartment complex to downtown Mason City. 

The start of construction on a $16 million, 133-unit apartment complex in downtown Mason City has been set.

On July 17 at 10 a.m., Talon Development will break ground on its housing project that is just to the south of the river in downtown Mason City.

According to City Administrator Aaron Burnett, the multi-family development is a major step forward for the city and a significant spin-off of the ongoing River City Renaissance.

In Mayor Bill Schickel's "1 Minute Monday Update" on Twitter, Burnett said that he believes such a spin-off will not be the last because other multi-million-dollar development projects across the state have had a history of attracting unanticipated supplementary deals.

On April 16, the city council voted unanimously to approve an initial land purchase and development agreement for $14 million between Mason City and Talon Development of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

Since that time, Talon has moved through the development review process to get final approval for building permits and transfer of the land for the 133 unit apartment and town home project.

A one-bedroom apartment with a patio would cost $745, a two-bedroom would be $890 and a three-bedroom would cost about $1,000.

Town home units would run $1,300 for a two-bedroom and $1,400 for a three-bedroom.

When the plan first entered the frame, Schickel said the city decided to work with Talon because "They have experience in other communities (similar to Mason City) and a strong interest in our riverfront development."

Talon CEO Steve Boote said that he considers his company, which currently maintains a $100 million portfolio, to be a "workforce housing specialist."

"If you’re gonna build an apartment today (in Des Moines or Omaha) it will probably run in the neighborhood of $850-900 a month for rent," Boote said. "That’s just too high for rural America. You need to be lower."

North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation President Chad Schreck has said that such housing opportunities can be a magnet for jobs in the area.

"While the RCR project is not generally a direct driver of the industrial or large commercial projects we typically pursue at the Corridor, it has definitely gotten attention from the companies we are working with," Schreck indicated.

"Businesses are looking for communities that are attractive place to live, so they can access strong talent pools."

The development, according to a previous statement from Burnett, will require an incentive of a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement and the "sale of underutilized city land." 

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