Vermillion is seeing significant growth in one of its new housing developments, Bliss Pointe.
Located by the Bluffs, the development includes a total of 72 residential lots and three commercial lots.
Process of buying a home
Bliss Pointe has 31 lots sold and about 45 left to sell. The development’s lots are selling nearly twice as fast as originally anticipated, according to a recent Bliss Pointe flyer.
As a result, this marks Bliss Pointe as the fourth fastest-growing area in the metro-micropolitan area.
Jami Baedke, broker/owner at Premier Real Estate, LTD, said the lots in Bliss Pointe range from $15,000 to $65,000.
Baedke said homeowners have “12 months (to start building on the lot) and 18 months from the time (the lots) are closed to complete the project.”
This allows time for possible homeowners to plan what they want to do with their home, although standards set by the city regulate what they’ll look like for the most part.
Baedke said she doesn’t know when Bliss Pointe will be finished.
“That’s hard because I think the bluff lots, of course, went fast because they’re the prime lots with the best view. These other areas, I guess I’m not sure,” Baedke said. “There will be, once we get to a certain point, there will be a second phase to it, too. There will be more lots built further to the east. Hopefully it goes fast, hopefully the town is growing quick enough that we can keep rolling on them.”
Baedke said Vermillion and USD will benefit from the additional housing options.
“Hopefully to retain a lot of our professors especially. We have a large amount that live out of town,” Baedke said. “So hopefully to provide other housing options to keep them here instead of leaving town.”
First in the development
Thomas Geu, dean and professor of the law school, was the first to purchase a home in Bliss Pointe.
“The initial reason we were interested in Bliss Pointe was because we were trying for a couple years to find a house to move back into from north Sioux City,” Geu said. “We have moved down to north Sioux City while my son attended Catholic high school and we were looking to move back and we just couldn’t find anything that could work for us.”
Geu said he’s been back in Vermillion for two years.
“Bliss Pointe is a great place. We live before the turnabout and yet we still have a nice view to the southwest,” Geu said. “I grew up on a farm and ranch in western Nebraska, and both my spouse and I enjoy that view.”
Those who live in the newer housing developments share a sense of community, Geu said.
“We’ve very much enjoyed our neighbors. It has grown and the houses have sprang up much faster than we thought they would,” Geu said. “(It has) developed a real sense of community. For example, since the last summer there was a community potluck and the fact that there’s a small park and children’s playground is attractive because it means that there will be folks of all ages in the development.”
Bliss Pointe has a total of about 45 lots left to be purchased, according to a Bliss Pointe flyer.
“New developments are necessary for the university and the faculty that it wants and needs,” Geu said. “If people can’t find housing, take my word for it as dean, they won’t come.”
The Vermillion City Council and other development companies worked together to bring these newer developments to Vermillion.
John Prescott, city manager of Vermillion, said developments such as Bliss Pointe are possible because of the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce.
“A lot of these (developments) are brought on by private individuals looking to develop their property,” Prescott said. “So as Vermillion Chamber of Commerce worked with the development company and the Bliss Family to bring this land about so we could get to where we are at today.”
John Powell, Vermillion’s mayor, said there’s a process of purchasing a development and having it go through a committee to approve the buyer’s plan.
“There is a committee that approves the plan so that your housing is somewhat consistent. You don’t want to put an $100,000 house in an area where everyone else is $250,000,” Powell said. “So there’s a committee on the Vermillion Chamber Development Company that approves the plans.”
Those plans were developed due to a need for affordable housing and realtors expressed interested for newer development lots.
“We felt there was a need for housing and in particular more affordable housing. Because we have a lot of university people that commute,” Powell said. “I know that there are several that are out here now.”
Conversations with the Bliss family surrounding the development have been happening for the past five years, Powell said.
Powell said Vermillion will benefit from this growth.
“A simplistic one in my mind is that 40 acres there would have $1,000 taxes a year. Now you have 30 homes that have property taxes on those homes, I would put on the range of $3,000 a year for taxes. Those (taxes) help the city, the school district and the county,” Powell said. “The county collects the real estate taxes. Economically it’s important that we have good housing. Also, if we get people to commute to decide to live here, hopefully they’ll be spending their monies here rather than Yankton or Sioux Falls.”
Corrections to this article were made on Oct. 11.
Lauren Soulek contributed to this article.