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Lutheran Social Services to create affordable housing neighborhood in Watford City

WATFORD CITY, ND - Lutheran Social Services Housing broke ground today for the Prairie Heights development in Watford City, beginning a process that will create a walkable neighborhood that offers affordable rental housing, green space and reserved space for a child care facility which will be developed later.

Lutheran Social Services Housing, anon-profit developer, together with MBI Energy Services and the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) co-hosted a Sept. 13 ground breaking event at the project site, just west of The Watford Hotel which is at 810 3rd Avenue SW, Watford City.

"This development is a great example of how the state's Housing Incentive Fund is working to provide affordable housing in western North Dakota and throughout the state," said Governor Jack Dalrymple. "I applaud MBI Energy Services for supporting this housing project."

MBI contributed $2 million to the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund, targeting the funds to the Prairie Heights project. The family-owned business also donated the land on which the development will be located.

"For more than 30 years, MBI has called western North Dakota home. We want to see this region continue to not only grow and prosper, but to be a place where families can raise their children in a safe and healthy environment," said Jim Arthaud, MBI Energy Services CEO.

"I often talk about the layers of support needed for us to create quality affordable housing," said Lutheran Social Services Housing Director Jessica Thomasson. "These layers - MBI's generous contributions, outstanding community involvement and NDHFA's incentive fund - are truly a great illustration of that process."

Capitalized by state taxpayers, the Housing Incentive Fund provides low-cost financing to developers of affordable multifamily housing. Contributions can be directed to a specific project or community.

"By contributing to the Housing Incentive Fund, North Dakotans have a say in how their state tax dollars are spent," said Mike Anderson, NDHFA executive director. More information about HIF is available online at

Additional key partners in this project include First International Bank and Trust, McKenzie County Bank and the Bank of North Dakota.

Built in two phases, Lutheran Social Services' Prairie Heights development will provide mixed-income housing for essential service workers, low- to moderate-income households and individuals and families employed by the private sector.

The 16 units reserved for lower income households will rent for $401 and $674 per month. Fourteen units will be available to moderate- to middle-income households at rents of $700 to $950 per month. The remaining 84 units will rent for $925 to $1,350 and 10 units for $1,250 to $1,850.

"Our rent structure ensures that the project that will be financially sustainable for the long term - one way of assuring that we will always able to offer affordable rents to those with low-, moderate- and middle-incomes," said Thomasson.

The total cost of constructing Prairie Heights is estimated at $17 million. The development will consist of 12 one-bedroom, 100 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom rental units. Pedestrian trails are planned throughout the development. Future plans for the site include a location for a large child care center.

Lutheran Social Services Housing anticipates that the project will be completed in August 2013, with the first units available in April 2013.

Lutheran Social Services Housing, a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, supports the continued vitality of North Dakota's communities by providing affordable housing and housing-related services, with eight rental housing projects currently completed and under management and several other projects in various stages of development.

Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota is a statewide social services agency serving thousands of North Dakotans in need with affordable housing, food, disaster recovery, counseling and therapy and other programs that strengthen individuals, families and communities without regard to clients' race, religion, gender or economic status.

MBI Energy Services, formerly Missouri Basin Well Service, is a North Dakota-based, oilfield service provider committed to providing lasting, safe solutions to both its community and its customers.

The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Jack Dalrymple as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA.

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