Bug-A-Boo Bay is SOLD

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As of 11am today, Bug-A-Boo Bay is under new ownership.  The buyer is Randy Stodola.  He is from the New Germany area.  He has owned two bars there, his last one was Down South.  He sold it in August of 2009.  Down South was a Carribbean style bar/restaurant that he had fashioned after Alexandria’s very own Bug-A-Boo Bay.  The other bar/restaurant that Randy owned was T-Road Tavern in New Germany.  Randy is a graduate of MSU with a Business Degree.

A good friend of his, Jason Hartmann will be managing the kitchen and day-to-day operation of Bug-A-Boo Bay.  Jason has owned and operated two bar/restaurants himself, one was located in Brainerd known as the Half-Moon Saloon.  The other was Hoppers Bar and Grill in Waconia.  Jason is a graduate of Brown Institute with a degree in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management.

The way that this story unfolds is that Jason had called me on another piece of property for his parents.  When I started to visit with him, I had mentioned Bugs.  He called Randy and told him about it, the rest is history.  Having a flair and afffection for a Carribbean-style restaurant, this should be a good mix.   They fully intend to leave the name the same, the menu will probably get simplified till they get their arms around the famous restaurant.   Plans are to be open by May 1st.

They wish to be active participants in the community.  Let’s give them a warm welcome and show our support by attending as often as we can.

I’d also like to say an extremely large THANK YOU to Dave and Deb Bistodeau.  They created a place for the residents and visitors of Alexandria to enjoy year-round at a tremendous burden to themselves.  They owned and operated Bug-A-Boo Bay for 9 years, many times without compensation as they tirelessly worked to provide the highest quality and service to us.  Once Bug-A-Boo Bay closed, the residents felt a tremendous loss that we had taken for granted since it was created.  Dave and Deb have lost far more than we.  Now they have turned over their creation and have said good-bye to it’s day-to-day heartbeat.  Very few people know what this feels like, but they’ll be fine.  Dave and Deb sincerely wish the new owners well and encourage all to patronize the establishment…and we all get to enjoy “Bugs” again:)

Any comments out there from cyber-space on Bugs?

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Warm Winter for Alexandria, MN

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We had plenty of snow…I thought temperatures were unusually warm for Alexandria.  From the KSAX newsroom…6 days below 20 degrees, and 6 days from 10-20 degrees below zero.  It sure kills a lot of bugs at 10 below zero.

Source:  KSAX meteorologist Mark Anderson

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Housing Shortage?

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This is interesting…you should take the time to read these articles…Housing Shortage?…I have said before that there will come a time here in Alexandria, when buyers cannot find the property that they are looking for…to some degree that has already started…judging by how many homes people look at before they do find one to buy.  I remember periods of time in the last 27+ years of selling real estate here when we did not have listings.

This is from National Association of Home Builders Online News.Slow Recovery May Be Leading to Serious Housing Shortages. February 22.2010

This one I pulled from Real Estate Investing for Real. Housing Shortage Looms. March 1.2010

And this one I pulled from National Association of Home Builders Online News.Eye on the Economy: Housing Stumbles on Road to Recovery. March 8.2010

In Alexandria, if you read the permit report from last week that I blogged, there is less new home construction here as well.  Once our existing inventory depletes itself, which will happen, new construction will kick in.  It has to, Alexandria is on the course to grow.

In reading the February 22, 2010 report, “NAHB Economists project that the industry will need to deliver 16 million homes over the next 10 years to keep pace with demand…NAHB is forecasting 647,000 total housing starts in 2010 and 991,000 in 2011, an indication of expectations for housing to recover at a relatively slow pace.”

“Population growth currently requires 1.5 million new homes per year according to Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist of First Trust Advisors in an interview with Steve Forbes.  And if you throw in, you know, fires and tears-downs and just worn-out properties, we need 1.6 million more per year.  The housing starts are between 500-600,000.  We’re starting one-third of the homes we need just to keep up with poplulation growth.  Wesbury told Forbes he thinks real estate is one of the secret investments over the next decade in the interview.”

I find this fascinating…any comments from anyone out there in cyberspace?

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Lumber Costs Rise 26% from Start of Year

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Reading the National Association of Home Builders Online for March 8, 2010, it had this to say:

“For the week ending on Feb. 19, the Random Lengths composite index stood at $317 per 1000 board feet, its highest level since the first half of July 2006.  that price was up more than 26% from the start of this year, when framing lumber was averaging $251.

During the first half of 2009, the index fluctuated around the $200 mark, before moving into the $250 range in late November.

(Random lengths’ composite index is a weighted average of 15 softwood lumber product prices.)

Residential construction is the chief driver of demand for softwood lumber, said NAHB Senior Economist Bernard Markstein.  With residential construction activity remaining at historically low post-World War II levels, most supply-side factors were responsible for the dramatic surge in lumber prices, at least for the short term.

  • With the Random Lengths cost of lumber remaining low – below $300 – for about two-and-a-half years, companies shut down many of their mills and cut back on logging operations by the second half of 2009, with significant layoffs of workers.  This led to severe lumber constraints by the end of last year, which were probably worsened by normal mill shutdowns for the holidays in December and January.
  • Unusually cold and wet weather in much of the southern U.S. and parts of Canada limited logging operations even further, helping to drive up prices.
  • Demand has increased from paper and pulp mills.
  • Given the cost and time involved in restarting shuttered mills, mill operators have been reluctant to ramp up production until they can be confident that higher lumber prices will prevail for an extended period and not just a few weeks.  Once a decision is made to reopen a mill, it can take several weeks to check out and service idled equiipment and to rehire workers.”

For the complete story, read the article:NAHB.Online.March8.2010

Source:  National Association of Home Builders News Online.March 8.2010

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Alexandria, MN…$50 million in construction last year!

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Last year, 2009, the Alexandria Building Department issued 1,244 permits on construction projects worth more than $50.2 million.  That compares to 1,057 issued in 2008 on projects valued at $55.2 million.  And in 2007, the projects totalled $56.9 million.

The A.B.D. (Alexandria Building Department) said that 22 new homes were constructed within the city and its code administration area worth $4.3 million.  That compares to 39 new homes built in 2008 with an estimated valuation of $6.4 million.

More people decided to remodel their home though…during 2009, 550 single-family dwellings were remodeled, repaired or underwent renovation.  The value of that renovation was estimated at nearly $4.8 million.   That’s ajump from 2008 when 385 permits were issued at an estimated value of $4.5 million.  A lot of the increase was at least partially caused by many re-siding and re-roofing permits that were issued as the result of a hail storm that caused significant damage.

Commercial building slipped a bit in 2009.  The city issued 15 building permits for new commercial projects valued at $21.5 million.  The numbers were higher in 2008 – 28 permits for projects valued at $24.6 million.

Commercial renovation was up, the city issued 76 permits for that type of work – 19 more permits than in 2008.  These projects added nearly $10.3 million to the total building valuation in 2009 – more than twice the $4 million those kinds of projects added in 2008.

Permits fees for building, plumbing and mechanical work continue to bring significant revenue into the city.  Permit fees collected by the A.B.D. totalled $287,511 in 2009; down from $318,187 in 2008.  The building department, however, collected another $24,192 from Alexandria township for contract building code administration services.

As is the case in past years, most of 2009’s building activity took place within the city – nearly $43.3 million, or 86 percent of the total.

The total of projects administered in adjoining townships by the A.B.D. is; $2.42 million in Alexandria Township,  $1.68 in Hudson Township($758,130 in 2008),  $2.66 in LaGrand Township and $100,303 in Lake Mary Township.


  1. Douglas County Jail                               $10.1 Million
  2. Alexandria Area YMCA                       $7.8 Million
  3. The Legacy Apartment.Phase II      $7.14 Million
  4. Alex City Water Treatment Plant     $2.8 Million
  5. Alex City New Park Department      $1.3 Million
  6. Douglas Machine’s expansion           $1.27 Million
  7. Central Specialties Ofc. Bldg.             $1 Million
  8. Veterans Administration Clinic       $995,000
  9. Standard Iron addition                       $850,000
  10. Alex Tech College, re-roofing           $581,000

Source:  Echo Press and Alexandria City Building Department

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Jobs…Probably the key to the real estate market!

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In reading these comments, I thought that it would be best to share them:

“employment losses have steadily declined over the past six months.  In fact, private sector jobs (ex-construction) have risen over the past two months….The stark reality of the unemployment situation is that higher education levels are associated with lower unemployment-and vice versa unfortunately.  Unemployment for college graduates is 5 percent-for high school drop outs the rate is 15 percent.  Meanwhile, the average duration of unemployment remains high at 30 weeks.  There is a significant skills mismatch in the U.S. economy.  It is not as thought there are no jobs.  More precisely, there are no jobs for many willing workers who do not have the skills to compete in the 21st century workplace.”

“In his interview on CNBC last Tuesday, Thomas Hoenig, President of the Kansas City Fed said that a move to higher rates should not derail an economic recovery.”

“Housing starts will be in the 650,000 to 700,000 range for the second half of this year.”

“for the fourth quarter, all 20 metro area surveyed showed improvement in their annual price numbers.  Over the last six months there have been solid gains in home prices in San Francisco, Phoenix and Los Angeles.  Las Vegas saw a decline of 4.8 percent.”

Source:  Wells Fargo Securities Report

Keep an eye on the unemployment numbers, it will show a path towards the real estate market…good or bad.

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Housing Report in Alexandria, MN City Limits

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Alex City Assessor Report.2009I received this report from the City Assessor of Alexandria.  It is a very good culmination of research data, done by the city assessor on the local housing market inside of the city limits.  It shows that there was an overall decrease in value of 9% but the median is still well within the historical trend.  Also that the ratio of sale price to market value on properties in the city is 97%.  So overall, thank you Reed for the report, good job.

Source:  Alexandria, Minnesota City Assessor’s Office

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