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NCTC Foundation set to close on apartment complex sale

THIEF RIVER FALLS — With the sale set to close Monday, the Northland Community and Technical College Foundation will soon be the owner of five apartment buildings that it will renovate into student housing.

The apartment complex is just north of Northland Community and Technical College's Thief River Falls campus and will be filling a demand that has existed among the school's students for the past several years.

"The housing shortage was critical for them," said Shelia Bruhn, executive director of the NCTC Foundation. "So the foundation looked at how we could help, and one of our founding visions for the foundation was to help with student housing."

A 2012 housing study conducted in Thief River Falls for the Minnesota State Colleges and University system confirmed there was pent up demand for student housing in the area. That study helped the foundation cement its decision to pursue the creation of more housing for NCTC students, Bruhn said.

Four years after the study, demand for student housing remains.

Of the 144 beds that will be available in arrangements of three- or four-bedroom units through the renovation project, Bruhn said the foundation has received enough housing applications to fill nearly all of them.

Once the sale on the property closes, renovation efforts will get underway in the buildings, currently known as Foxtail Townhomes.

All told, purchasing and remodeling the apartments is expected to cost $4.2 million. The foundation has received a $1.1 million grant from MnSCU to pay for part of the project, with the remaining $3.2 million set to be covered by loans.

The foundation partnered with the city of Thief River Falls to get the best deal on a loan.

"There's no liability to the city. The liability is with the foundation," Foundation Operations Director Lars said. "The city's just loaning their bond-issuing status so that we'll get a lower interest rate."

Remodel work

Once the renovation begins, crews will be replacing the buildings' windows, interior and exterior doors and siding.

Kitchens in the units will be updated with new appliances and countertops. Walls also will be painted and new flooring installed. Each unit also will be outfitted with its own washer and dryer.

The college also is remodeling a small building near the complex to serve as a community space.

"That would be the community space for the students in that housing," Dyrud said. "Our housing office would be there, and quiet study space and some recreational space that would be kind of exclusive for the students that are living there."

Rent is charged by the semester, coming in at $2250 per student for a three-bedroom apartment and $2,175 for a four-bedroom apartment.

Renovations are expected to be completed in time to open the apartment for students enrolled in the fall semester.

While the NCTC Foundation owns the property, the apartments will be overseen by a management firm. ORB Management will handle the day-to-day operations of the rentals.

The firm has a similar arrangement with Alexandria Technical and Community College, which used a state grant to building new student housing.

The new Thief River Falls housing coming online in the fall means NCTC can discontinue an agreement with UND to house some of its students that couldn't find apartments.

"We're hoping the housing we have in place at that point will be satisfactory," Bruhn said.

Northland students took buses from UND student housing to their respective campuses through the arrangement.

The renovated housing units are intended to serve students attending school at the NCTC campus in Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks.

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For more information about NCTC student housing or to apply, visit