And just like that, a neighborhood was born.
Or at least part of one anyway, as project leaders cut the ribbon in Fremont yesterday on the first five of an eventual 25 row homes that will constitute “The Row Fremont” development — made possible in part by a State award from the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) administered by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority.
The Row represents just a slice of the 400-unit Bluestem Commons neighborhood that’s slated to spring up roof-by-roof over the next five years, addressing Fremont’s need for affordable workforce housing in a big way.
From the beginning, project lead Hoppe Development envisioned a neighborhood where a variety of housing types — from detached for-sale units to apartments and duplexes — would meet the needs of working families of varying income levels. Tying it all together would be amenities like a pond, walking trail, park, fitness center, clubhouse and swimming pool.
The Row Fremont — starting with today’s five new builds — is the first result of that blueprint coming to fruition.
“Our goal is to work with communities to meet their affordable housing needs,” explained Jake Hoppe, Principal for Hoppe Development. He went on to describe how Fremont’s need for affordable homes was present even before the 2019 bomb cyclone wreaked havoc and displaced families.
“Our goal from the start of this project was to build the most desirable new, amenity-rich neighborhood but maintain price points that are accessible to working families, because that’s where the big need is,” he said.
Hoppe Development often adopts a “masterplan” approach, he explained, planning largescale projects that will make a big impact in a relatively quick timeframe. Today’s ribbon-cutting will be followed by a slated five completions per month for the Row through the end of the year. The entire Bluestem Commons subdivision should take around five years to complete, and will ultimately consist of 132 attached single-family units and 272 apartments on approximately 32 acres.
All of the homes in The Row will be two-story units with four bedrooms and two baths, a single stall garage and a walk-out patio. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development supplied $861,000 from the HTF — a federal program designed to create housing options for very low-income families — to support a portion of the construction. NIFA’s LIHTC program was also a major contributor to the $5 million project.
“Resources from the State of Nebraska have really been important to helping this project get off the ground,” he said. “Everyone can see how big the need is for expanded housing inventory, and the funding the State has devoted is making a huge difference.”
In the end, this morning’s ribbon-cutting was an exciting glimpse into the future for Fremont’s newest neighborhood. What began as just a plot of land will soon resonate with the sounds of children, lawnmowers, barking dogs and barbeques.
The sounds of a growing, vibrant community.
“This is an exciting day,” Hoppe said. “We can’t wait to see this project continue coming to life.”