HJ/EDApril 3, 2006

Rolling Meadows in Montrose: a place to call home

By Jenni Sebora

Nestled among the gently rolling hills in northern Montrose just off Wright County Road 12, lies the picturesque residential development of Rolling Meadows.

The development of Rolling Meadows got underway in the spring of 2004 with Richard J. Elsen Construction as one of the principle builders of the development. The development proved to be popular when phase one was completed in just 19 months.

Richard J. Elsen Construction is a third generation custom home builder that got its start in Champlin almost three decades ago. A large measure of Rolling Meadow’s success is due to Elsen Construction.

Customer service and satisfaction are at the top of the list for Elsen Construction. Tony Matczynski and David Elsen, Elsen Construction’s builder representatives to Rolling Meadows, take pride in that fact.

“A good portion of our business is made up of referrals from people whom we have had the opportunity to serve in the past,” Elsen said.

“Home building is a competitive business and listening to the needs of the customer is key,” Elsen said. “Following up on the concerns of our customers is extremely important to us.”

Jay Woelber, one of Elsen’s customers, was impressed by that way of doing business when he built his home in Rolling Meadows in December 2004.

“It was great working with Elsen,” Woelber said. “They took care of the concerns that I had and if problems did come up, they worked hard to find solutions to them.”

Brock and Melissa Jewett also live in Rolling Meadows and, likewise, had a positive experience with Elsen Construction.

“I’m from a building background and I liked the fact that they didn’t try to sell us something that we didn’t need,” Brock said. “Elsen was flexible with us and had an on-site architect available to help us incorporate changes in our home. I felt involved in the project.”

Home prices in the development start around $170,000 and many different housing styles are available.

“We have helped many types of buyers, from first-time home buyers to young families to empty-nesters,” Elsen said.

Elsen Construction is also aware that each customer has a unique situation when it comes to affording a new home.

While the company doesn’t directly provide new home financing, they can direct potential buyers to special first-time home buying programs or to the State of Minnesota’s Community Activity Set Aside (CASA) program, which assists qualified applicants with home financing.

In addition to these opportunities, Elsen Construction has helped home buyers to reduce the cost of their new home by letting the buyer contribute “sweat equity” to the project by completing tasks such as painting rooms themselves.

Rolling Meadows has many amenities and features not typically found in the area. Many of the neighborhoods are located among gently sloping hillsides. “The topography is attractive to people. All of the lots have a different feel, which is unique at this price point,” Elsen said.

Many different types of lots are available, ranging in size, generally, from between one-third to one-half acre. Quite a few of the lots are semi-wooded, and some contain ponds.

To date, about 45 homes have been built in Rolling Meadows, but there are about 200 additional home sites available. When the development is completely built-out, it will feature paved walking paths, a soccer field, a softball field, and other parkland.

But perhaps Rolling Meadows, best feature is something intangible: its “feel.”

“There is a definite sense of community here,” Elsen said. “It’s nice to see neighborhood families walking together and children playing now that the weather is getting warmer.”

Woelber, who came from Buffalo, liked the rural feeling. “It has a country atmosphere, which I enjoy,” he said.

Rick Elsen, owner of Richard J. Elsen Construction, continues to be impressed with the City of Montrose. With regard to getting the development designed, planned, and through the approval process, working with the city government has been a positive experience.

“They (the city) have been excellent to work with. They have been wonderful,” Elsen said.

Brock liked the ease and flexibility in working with city government. For example, he pointed out the fact that the City of Montrose allowed for separate metering for lawn watering purposes, which allows the homeowner to be charged a lower rate when watering because that water is not flowing into the wastewater system.

“We are excited, too, about the housing and retail growth of the community. It’s good to see the city growing,” Elsen said.

“It’s nice to see some new things in the area, like the Great Northern restaurant. They have really good food. And Red’s Café is really cool,” Woelber said. “Montrose has a back-to-home feel.”

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