Scott City readies to expand housing market

Friday, March 28, 2003

Ground could be broken in mid-May for a 63-lot housing development that would be the largest built in Scott City in the past 30 years.

The preliminary plat for Park Estates, which would be located opposite the city baseball complex on the south side of Main Street, has been approved by the Scott City planning and zoning commission and city council. It awaits only permits from the state Department of Natural Resources.

The developers plan to build three-bedroom, two-bath houses with two-car garages in the first two phases of the project. Six different models of the single-family houses will be available, ranging in size from 1,250 to 1,600 square feet. The houses will be priced in the $90,000 to $120,000 range.

Almost anyone who can buy a mobile home can afford one of these houses because of the HUD and FHA loan programs that will be available, says Wade Cardwell, who is marketing the development.

He estimates monthly mortgage payments will be $450 to $500. "You can't rent this kind of housing for under $700 a month," he said.

"... This is actual, real affordable housing for everyday good common folks."

Attractive pricing

The developers expect that people from outside Scott City will be drawn to Park Estates because similar housing in Cape Girardeau County is more expensive.

"There is nowhere in the Southeast Missouri area you can get new construction for $100,000 and under. It's just not happening," Cardwell said.

"...They are going after the market a lot of builders are neglecting because the margin's not there."

A home can be built in Scott City for $20,000 to $30,000 less because of cheaper land costs, said developer Monty Keesee.

The infrastructure for Park Estates is being built by his M&M Real Estate Development, a company co-owned by his wife, Michelle. Monty Keesee is a Scott City native who moved back to town three years ago after spending 15 years in Southern California. He bought the 200 acres of agricultural land with the intention of developing a subdivision.

The first phase of the project will develop 33 lots, the second phase another 30. Keesee said another 30 to 50 lots will be developed in the project's third phase.

Keesee is partners with David Messmer in Modern Building Development, the company that will build the houses.

Bowen Engineering & Surveying Inc. of Cape Girardeau has been working on the engineering for the subdivision for a month and a half. The engineering is being done according to DNR guidelines, Keesee said.

Carolyn Pendergrass, chairwoman of planning and zoning, said the preliminary plat was approved with few alterations. "There was some concern about width of the streets, but that was all straightened out," she said. The developer was allowed to build 24-foot-wide streets instead of the 26-foot-wide streets called for in the city code.

Mayor Tim Porch says the development is a good deal for Scott City. "We're real happy to see it coming. It fits into our infrastructure because of the availability of water and sewer," he said.

Porch said he was cautious at first, guarding against developers who would come into town to build cheap housing and sell people big mortgages. This is not that kind of project, he said.

"They assure us this is a homegrown thing. I was pretty impressed with their package."

The housing market is down 12 percent from the same time last year, but most of that decline is in sales of existing homes, Cardwell said. "Anything that's new is selling."

Ann Morales of REMAX Achievers in Cape Girardeau will list the properties. Cardwell also owns Olympic Funding, a mortgage company that will help buyers obtain funding.

Cardwell said signs advertising the development should go up in a few weeks, and pre-sales will begin soon afterward.

335-6611, extension 182

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