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Perham makes room for commuters with new apartment plans

Four new two-story, 12-plex apartment buildings in Perham could be in the works if a proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan is approved.

According to Perham Economic Development Authority Director Chuck Johnson, the apartment project was proposed by Grow Perham, a local investment group focusing on housing.

If the project moves forward, construction on the first 12-plex would start this fall. There is no immediate timeline for the construction of the other three buildings.

Each building will include eight two-bedroom apartments and four three-bedrooms, and each unit will also have a garage.

Grow Perham's goal, Johnson said, is to help alleviate the shortage of housing in the area. The group constructed two 14-plex buildings in the Clearwater Addition of town several years ago.

"A substantial number of people commute daily to jobs in Perham, quite a few of whom commute from Wadena and Becker counties," Johnson said. "The presence of these apartments will help boost the number of people who call Perham home."

More residents living in Perham could also have an economic impact on the town, in addition to bringing new students in the Perham-Dent School District, he added.

The city is using a TIF district to finance the project, Johnson said, because "Minnesota's property tax climate makes it exceedingly difficult to cash flow apartment buildings, such as the one pro-posed."

TIF districts provide a type of rebate of property taxes, about half of the net taxes paid for nine years.

Normally, Johnson said, the school and county have 30 days to comment once they have been notified of a TIF project.

However, because the project was proposed late in the season, the city is requesting that the 30-day comment period be waived in the case of an early winter so that construction on the project could be started. In this case, the TIF plan could be completed as soon as Oct. 10.