By Joshua Schuetz
The City of Jackson broke ground on a project that will provide nearly 60 units of housing for the community, thanks to the work of CEDA team member Dave Schmidt, who serves as the city’s economic development coordinator.
Phase IA of the project, which will entail the construction of one 41 unit apartment complex and two four-unit townhomes in the Belmont Heights subdivision, broke ground on November 1st, with the city starting to move dirt just two weeks prior.
While the city had been on the hunt for new market rate housing for years, progress came thanks to a conversation between Schmidt and DBS, a development firm based in Rochester, at CEDA’s annual meeting in 2022.
“This project would not have been possible without the relationship between Jackson and CEDA,” Schmidt said. “Within 16 months we went from an introductory conversation to moving dirt, which is just lightspeed.”
The need for market rate housing in Jackson is especially dire due to the number of people employed at industrial companies, including AGCO and HitchDoc, in the city. Schmidt said there are waiting lists for all market rate rentals in the city, and the only vacancies are in the low- income or subsidized spaces, which most workers make too much money to qualify for.
“If you took everyone off our waitlist, you’d nearly fill the apartment building we’re constructing,” Schmidt said.
The land was set aside for housing, but a TIF district was not an option due to the income requirements, making the initial financing of the housing project a challenge. Multiple entities have collaborated to fund the project, including an investor’s group, local employers and the city itself. Schmidt said the development will be done in phases, with up to 240 units of housing planned.
“They’re doing a pre-lease now and assuming the apartment building fills up, they’ll start looking at another apartment building and additional townhomes in spring,” he said. “I want to emphasize that this project 100 percent would not have happened if CEDA was not in Jackson, because if it was not for these relationships we have through CEDA, our project would not happen.”