Jim Johnston, a Pocatello City Councilman and real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty East, is partnering with Portneuf Development to sell 52 retirement homes in Northgate’s gated community. These homes are marketed for people aged 55 or older. Once all the homes are sold they will then complete the gated community.
“We’re very fortunate that Ken Pape of Portneuf Development invited us to help sell the homes that are planned for this gated community,” Johnston said. “We have some people that have already put money down and we should have construction on some of the homes started here in the next few weeks.”
Johnston and his son Greg, who is also a real estate agent at the same company as his father, will be the only real estate agents who will sell these retirement homes. These homes will be filled with the latest smart technology. The majority of the homes will be single-level with a handful of them having a walk-in basement. The minimum price is $270,000. The Portneuf Medical campus will be within walking distance of the gated retirement community.
“How we have it structured right now is people can give us $1,000 in earnest money and then they pick a lot in this gated community,” Jim Johnston said. “Then they will have an opportunity to meet with developers and builders to help design their custom home. If they are satisfied with the home then we will build it and if they are not satisfied then they will get their $1,000 back.”
Johnston doesn’t see both selling houses in the Northgate community and serving as a councilman being a conflict of interest.
“The impact of what decisions the city makes are helping the developers, not the individual homeowners that I would be getting into the houses,” Johnston said. “I would certainly ask the city attorney, Jared Johnson, if a conflict could arise and I would recuse myself from voting. I don’t want anyone to think that we would be profiting off my position with the city.”
To prepare for future economic development Pocatello is planning to establish a new tax increment financing district. The first step in creating this district is for Pocatello to annex land by the Northgate area from Bannock county. They also need to adopt a report that makes Northgate eligible convert to an urban renewal district.
Creating a TIF district could generate enough money balance the costs of the Northgate project. A TIF district is often used by Idaho as an economic development tool. The city council of Pocatello will have the final say on if the TIF district will be used.
“This Northgate development is going to stimulate the economy,” Johnston said. “They say that the dollar turns about three times and that’s going to help a ton of people. The people that pour concrete and sell lumber will benefit from this growth. There are many people who don’t want any growth but this will be good. We will need to hire more firefighters and police officers and other people will have new employment opportunities. As a city councilman, I am really excited to make the tough decisions that are required to make this work.”
-from Idaho State Journal