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Renderings for downtown 113-unit apartment project

Mayor Bill Schickel announced a plan with Talon Development out of Sioux Falls, S.D. to bring a $10 million, 113-unit apartment complex to downtown Mason City. 

If the Mason City Council approves a recommendation from City Administrator Aaron Burnett, downtown will soon see a $14 million apartment project in its skyline.

Burnett has asked that the council approve a housing development proposal submitted by Talon Development for land south of Willow Creek.

Talon, which is based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, initially came to city officials in March with a plan for a 133-unit project that would rise four stories high and offer workforce pricing.

The proposed deal now would offer 113 apartments alongside 22 townhomes with garages.

Mason City would receive $50,000 from Talon for the land and would give a 10-year tax abatement incentive.

A crucial aspect to the project that's been emphasized by CEO Steve Boote is the workforce pricing.

According to Boote, who started the company 21 years ago and runs it with family, said an efficiency apartment in the Mason City complex would run $540 a month.

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

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

At the March 5 city council meeting, Boote said he chose to do business in a city such as Mason City because it reminds him of Sioux Falls.

"I couldn't be more excited to be here," Boote said. "This is as excited as I've been about any project in my career." 

Besides the similarities between Mason City and Sioux Falls, another driver of Boote's excitement was the prospect of lowering rents across town which he said Talon was "here to do." 

Boote went on to emphasize how crucial such a housing project was for a place such as Mason City.

"You guys have a huge need, more than any of the other markets I've been in," he said.

Boote said that he and Talon would "strive to hit an 80 percent mark" for local hiring if the job went through.

Talon is currently working on a student housing project at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, called The Heights, which Boote claimed had about 60 to 70 workers.

If the city council decided to go with Talon, the developer would break ground in 60 to 90 days and attempt to complete construction in 11 months.

Boote attempted to allay sewer concerns by assuring that the project "wouldn't affect the mainline sewer" in the downtown area.

And he also expressed openness to tailoring the look of the apartment complex to Mason City's architecture.

"In a way, we're already piling on the snowball you started," he said.

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