For some time, the city’s lack of housing and slow development has been a sore subject for many Stoughton residents who want to see it grow like the rest of Dane County.
Eldon Homes, a Stoughton-based homebuilder, is helping to create those opportunities with several projects in the works, including 50 homes to be completed by the end of the year in the Nordic Ridge development and a new downtown “one-stop shop” for future homebuyers.
The group, which includes Stoughton native Keith Anderson and director of operations Rob Hostrawer, a long-time Stoughton resident, has several irons in the fire after recently joining forces. Hostrawer told the Hub last week the ultimate goal is to increase the city’s housing options, as well as its profile.
“Our family roots are getting put down here, and we’ve sat by and watched other communities develop around Stoughton, and it’s kind of been slow to get it out here,” he said. “People have a chance to pick and choose where their family is going to land and we have to make our community more attractive as a whole.”
“We take our Stoughton teams and we go play Waunakee or Verona, and it’s like playing at Lambeau Field,” he continued. “How come our community hasn’t grown like that? Obviously it comes down to housing and jobs, and one serves the other.”
A main obstacle, Hostrawer said, is housing— of all kinds.
“Any businessperson in town, they’re looking for staff, and it’s tough to find in this community the affordable housing available for them,” he said. “Speaking to some large business owners, they’re trying to recruit some executives to town, and the executives come to town with their families who are involved in sports, schools, activities for children, and they are looking at other communities that can offer those.”
Hostrawer said it was out of discussions like that with “some of the larger players in town involved in real estate development, employment, schools” that they got the idea to get involved in development.
“Eldon Homes kind of rose out of that,” he said. “Keith Anderson, my wife and I sat down at his kitchen table and talked about what we can do. Keith, coming from NVR (he was executive vice-president of operations), which is the country’s third-largest homebuilder, building is his passion too, so it’s pretty awesome that we can team up and go back to his roots and develop the community we love.
“Bringing his horsepower to our team sure accelerates what we’re trying to do.”
When Anderson purchased 50 lots at Nordic Ridge, he had a vision for the land that would “breathe new life” into the city where he was born and has deep roots.
“Before he passed, my father had the GM dealership in Stoughton for 30 years,” Anderson said in the news release. “My mother’s family has been here for over 100 years and she went to the same high school I went to. I met my wife of almost 38 years in high school in Stoughton. This city is a part of who I am.”
The 50 homes at Nordic Ridge are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, ranging from 1,400 to 2,800 square-foot, single-story and two-story homes, to be priced from $400,000 to $650,000.
City of Stoughton Mayor Tim Swadley wrote in an email to the Hub last week that city officials are excited to see the Nordic Ridge development accelerated with the involvement of Eldon Homes.
“The neighborhood has provided families an opportunity to consider Stoughton their place of choice,” he wrote. “The development has provided a park used for many community activities including the Taste of Stoughton, graduation parties and of course the Splash Pad.”
Anderson has also purchased land for an additional 120 single-family, first-buyer homes in the $300,000 range that will be completed in the first quarter of 2023. Eldon Homes is currently working with the city on a concept plan for duplex-style and single family homes.
“We’re trying to offer more of an entry-level product,” Hostrawer explained.
In early 2024, Eldon Homes plans to unveil 80 units in a planned active-adult community for those 55 and older.
“I have many people contact me that have mobility needs that are having a tough time finding a product,” he said. “Many houses built here over the years are bi-levels or tri-levels that people can’t retrofit to meet the mobility needs they have, so we are (designing) near-entry homes, everything built on one level, ADA accessible, the perfect choice for seniors or people with disability.”
Howstrawer said Stoughton doesn’t simply need housing, it needs all types of quality housing, which he said Eldon Homes plans to provide.
“We’re not going to just come to town and just throw up some shacks just to fill a need,” he said. “We really look forward to being part of the community and the community’s Smart Growth, and it’s awesome we can do this right here in our hometown.”