NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – The City of Negaunee announced that they have auctioned off three contiguous city owned lots for the development of new housing.

The lots are located on the former Jackson Grove Park. The parcels were removed from the park system in 2020 on recommendation from the Negaunee Planning and Zoning Commission and was approved by resolution by the Negaunee City Council. Nate Heffron, Negaunee City Manager, two reasons informed the decision.

“First, the City had sold the tennis courts to the School District,” said Heffron. “Second, the park had outlived its purpose for residents of the community.”

The City of Negaunee says the public auction was held on December 3 and Ben Snapp of Snapp Building Co. won the bid at $7,500 for all three parcels. A development agreement requires that he construct two single family residential homes and one multifamily residential duplex. The first home must be constructed within 18 months of the development agreement, after that Snapp will have five years to complete the remaining units or the City will take back ownership of the properties without refunding the purchase price or improvements to the land.

“It is important to understand that there are several factors holding back housing development in Negaunee and Marquette County,” said Heffron.  “These include the cost of land, the cost of materials, and availability of labor. To help jumpstart the construction of new, affordable homes in Negaunee, one or more these factors need to be alleviated.”

Heffron says the City of Negaunee has more properties with direct access to utilities that could be made available to future developers under similar agreements.

 “Partnering with other developers in the future to help decrease the overall costs of development, expand the housing stock and increasing the local tax base benefits not only Negaunee, but the county and region,” Heffron said.  “We will be looking at other similar opportunities, and feel this is just one option of many that City of Negaunee has available to help increase affordable housing.”