SPEARFISH, SD – Construction for the first home at Sky Ridge, a workforce housing development and adjacent sports complex near Exit 17, began Thursday morning during a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating this milestone to create affordable housing for Spearfish.
“The need for more affordable housing has long been a topic of concern for communities across the nation, and I am proud that Spearfish has worked to make this priority a reality,” Mayor Dana Boke said. “To see construction begin on what will become a home for a local family is exciting, and I am thankful to everyone who has worked hard to bring this project to fruition.”
Sky Ridge, located south of Colorado Boulevard and west of U.S. Highway 85 in the Exit 17 area, includes 150 lots for workforce housing, developed in phases over five years. The current contract requires 40 percent, or 60 homes, to be sold at or below $197,000; 40 percent to be sold at or below $247,000; and the remaining 20 percent (30 homes) sold up to the maximum price point established the South Dakota Housing Development Authority’s First-Time Homebuyer Program, which is currently $300,000. The square-footage of the home designs varies from 800-1,700 square feet, and Dream Design International, Inc., is responsible for constructing the homes.
“We are excited to start construction on these great homes,” Hani Shafai, president of Dream Design International, Inc., said. “We have worked hard to provide high quality, efficient homes at an affordable price, and we look forward to beginning construction and strengthening our relationship with the community of Spearfish.”
The first three residential housing building permits have been issued, with another 27 homes expected to be under construction over the next year.
“One of the top concerns we hear from our Spearfish employers is the increasing difficultly to find reasonably priced housing for middle-income workers. The Sky Ridge development is a huge step in the right direction to helping provide home ownership opportunities to our skilled laborers, police officers, teachers, health care workers, retail professionals, and many others wanting to both work and live in Spearfish,” said Kory Menken, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) executive director. “SEDC applauds the City of Spearfish and Dream Design International for bringing this project to reality, and we are proud we were able to be a part of it.”
The property for Sky Ridge was purchased in 2019, and construction began in Fall 2020. In addition to the housing, the development includes a sports complex that will feature six regulation soccer fields and four regulation softball fields.
A 2016 housing study in Spearfish showcased the need for more affordable housing options in Spearfish and indicated the City would have to take an active role in developing workforce housing. The Mayor and City Council, in collaboration with the private industry, worked to establish a plan that allowed a public-private partnership between the City and Dream Design International to improve the supply of affordable housing in Spearfish.
The City is responsible for building the streets and utilities at Sky Ridge, with those costs to be recovered through tax-increment financing (TIF). A TIF district is a public financing system that uses future increases in property tax to reimburse the costs of public improvements built within a designated TIF district boundary. As real estate value increases within that boundary area, higher tax revenues result. That “tax increment” is then used to refund the costs of public improvements created to support the project and is paid back to the source.
Construction at Sky Ridge will be visible over the next five years, with the approximately 40-acre sports complex expected to be open for play in Spring 2023. The development’s design includes 180 lots (150 of which are dedicated to workforce housing).
Photo caption: Construction for the first home at Sky Ridge, a workforce housing development and adjacent sports complex near Exit 17, began Thursday morning during a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating this milestone to create affordable housing for Spearfish. Courtesy photo