Businessman-developer Joel Edman is about to break ground for his 25-home Eastland Addition in Volga. The new affordable housing development is off Washington Road and lies south of First Reformed Church (in background at right). Photo by Ken Curley/Register
• Construction at Eastland Addition begins next month
VOLGA – While many small prairie towns are struggling to survive, Volga defies the odds: the community is healthy and prospering. The town has grown by 25 percent over the past decade, and Volga now counts more than 1,770 residents.
Increasing the population of the city is Joel Edman’s goal, and last week the Volga businessman formally announced plans to build 25 new homes in the community.
The project will add $3.5 million to $4 million to Volga’s property values.
“Population growth – that’s our future,” Edman said Thursday as he discussed detailed plans for the Eastland Addition, a major new affordable housing development.
“We’ve seen the growth of similar developments in Aurora, Elkton and Brookings,” he said, “and it’s about time we started one here.”
The 10-acre addition is located between First Street and Washington Road on the eastern edge of Volga, to the west of Edman’s Valley Mart convenience store and south of First Reformed Church.
Edman Development LLC, whose principals include Edman and his wife, Vicki, will begin site work and construction of two model homes next month, possibly as early as this week.
Edman says construction will proceed as market demand dictates, but he currently has 10 lots platted and would like to have the 25-home buildout completed in four years.
The developer says showings could begin as soon as late September or the first of October. (He admits that might be a stretch but promises new homeowners a 90-day occupancy from contract date.)
Edman describes his planned development as affordable housing, but they’re not necessarily starter homes. Priced between $145,000 and $149,000, “these would be right for first-time buyers,” he said, “but they’d also be great for people who are downsizing, or empty-nesters.”
The development will include two basic styles of house, a ranch and a split-level. All will be two-bedroom, one-bath structures of approximately 1,000 square feet.
“All will have basements, which can be finished by the new owners, and they’ll all have garages,” Edman notes.
Edman will act as general contractor, and he plans to use several builders, “as many local people as we can.”
Most lots in the subdivision are 65 by 140 feet, but some will vary slightly. (All homes will be built by the developer; individual lots will not be for sale.)
Edman is a well-known local businessman. An Arlington native, he’s been involved in enterprises in Volga since the 1990s. The former owner of the Prairie Junction truck stop in Colman, he sold that business and about five years ago purchased the Valley Mart C-store in Volga. He opened The Main Wash, a car and pet wash, on South Main Avenue in Brookings about two years ago.
While acknowledging that his new development could be a good fit for some of the workers at the Bel Brands cheese plant under construction in Brookings, Edman says he’s actually been planning the Volga project since 2008.
“The opportunity was there,” he says simply. He said he’d talked with a number of Realtors who agreed that Volga had a need for this type of housing.
“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Edman says. “I know it’ll sell.”
Besides being a bottom-line businessman, Edman is a genuine Volga-booster: “We’ve got so much to offer here: great schools, a grocery store, our convenience store…
“It’s a great place to live for those who prefer a quiet, small-town lifestyle,” he adds. “There are some really good people here.”
City approves TIF
Edman was recently given the city’s stamp of approval when the Volga council agreed to establish a tax increment financing district, or TIF, to help facilitate the project.
Working with the developer will be Stephanie Severson, a broker associate with Century 21 Gustafson, Krogman & Associates and listing agent for the Edmans’ development.
Severson, who has extensive experience in construction as well as real estate sales, echoes Edman’s comments about the properties. While Volga has had something of a new-home boom over the past decade, the Eastland homes will fill a special niche, she says.
“These will be quality new homes that can work as transition homes for growing families or homes for people downsizing.”
The smaller floor plan and modest prices meet a residential market need in Volga, Severson says. “In new homes, this is something we haven’t had before.”
Edman and Severson said they’re developing a website prospective homeowners can check out, but in the meantime Severson says she’d welcome calls.
“I have the floor plans for the buildings,” she said, “and we’re open for business.”
The homes will have amenities not usually found on new homes in this price range, the Realtor noted.
All will include installed lawn sprinkler systems and 12x12 decks. Stainless steel kitchen sinks will include disposals, and the kitchen will come furnished with major appliances, including microwave and dishwasher. Garage doors will be equipped with openers.
Severson said the finishes will be a cut above the standard builder’s grade, too. Kitchen cabinets will be oak with crown molding, and doors and interior trim also will be oak.
Severson can be reached at her Brookings office at 692-2100 or via mobile phone, 690-3520.
Contact Ken Curley at kcurley@-brookingsregister.com.