A planned housing community, with neighborhood retail stores and office space — could take shape later this year on a 60-acre tract on the west side of the city.
Gary Person, the head of the North Platte Chamber and Development, made the announcement Monday.
If approved, the project will bring nearly 300 new dwellings plus supporting commercial businesses to the northeast corner of West A and Lakeview, said Boyd Batterman, co-general manager of BiC Construction, the developer.
Batterman said the company is familiar with North Platte and was previously involved in building projects at Great Plains Health, North Platte public schools, Mid-Plains Community College and the North Platte Catholic School.
BiC Construction has a purchase agreement with Hoppe Lumber Company to acquire the 62-acre tract. The planned neighborhood would be called Prairie Skies at Two Rivers, according to the announcement.
Batterman foresees at least four different types of housing — about 100 single-family homes, 26 duplexes, 26 townhome/4-plexes, and 144 apartments, he said.
However, he said the development is dependent on the city’s approval of tax increment financing (TIF).
In April 2016, the city council declared the area blighted and substandard following a 90-minute discussion during a council meeting. At the meeting, Person said the water lines and utilities in that area are 40-45 years old. He described the land as economically obsolete.
An old irrigation drainage canal bisects the open field north of A St., where the houses would be built.
A neighborhood meeting was held earlier in 2016 to discuss the prospect.
“This area was originally a rural area,” Person said at that meeting. “That is why the canal is there. As the city continued to grow west, things developed all around here and this area kind of became a bubble in the middle.”
He also noted that North Platte only had three TIF current projects at that time, compared with 765 in the state and 20 in Kearney.
Implementation of the new housing project would include amending the city’s comprehensive plan, rezoning, tax increment financing and subdivision creation, Batterman said.
He said the North Platte community was proactive in declaring the site blighted and substandard, initiating a comprehensive housing study, and participating in the Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing initiative.
Batterman said the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation has provided strong support, and “city officials have given us outstanding cooperation.”
“Recent housing studies and market analysis shows that North Platte has a material shortage of workforce housing,” Batterman said.