Byron celebrates a year of success in housing, development
New home construction permits show Byron is head and shoulders above other communities surrounding Rochester.
BYRON — When it comes to residential home growth in 2021, Byron is outpacing its neighbors in the circle around Rochester.
According to an Olmsted County report of permit inspections, Byron issued 64 new home construction permitstotaling more than $20.5 million in property valuation.
And those numbers are only from June 1 through the end of the year, said City Administrator Mary Blair-Hoeft. Another 31 permits were issued before June, bringing the city's residential new home construction number to 95 homes.
By contrast, the city of Stewartville had 25 new home construction permits issued in 2021, according to the county. The total valuation on that property is roughly $4.67 million.
"Byron has been a growing community since I came here," Blair-Hoeft said. "We’ve always been growing; we've always been developing."
In addition to the new home construction, the city issued permits for decks, additions and alterations to existing homes with a total valuation of just more than $1 million.
All that growth has deepened Byron's tax base and helped make the city even more attractive as a residential and business location.
"We've got great growth here," said Byron Mayor Daryl Glassmaker. "We get 40 to 50 new homes a year here, a steady, nice growth. We've had that consistently for the last umpteenth year."
Glassmaker said the city's industrial park is often overlooked, but there are plenty of businesses along U.S. Highway 14 that bring jobs and financial stability to the city.
An admitted fan of Byron, Glassmaker cited the city's restaurants at various levels of service and bragged about the city's maintenance staff that helps keep the city clean and functioning.
But the big draw, he said, is the school district. A recently passed referendum that'll upgrade the school's athletic facilities only adds to its luster. And he's not the only one who thinks so.
"The school district is number one," said Justin Lenk, a Realtor with Realty Edge Team and eXp Realty in Rochester. "Also, (Byron) is close to Rochester, but you’re still outside of town. You’ve got some nice areas here."
Lenk said Byron's development is "definitely one of the biggest" in the area.
"You're seeing development in Kasson, and Stewartville is doing some building up as well," Lenk said. "But Byron has been developed more lately because of the demand. And that demand hasn't slowed down."
Part of the appeal, he added, is the convenience to downtown Rochester with Highway 14 eventually turning into Civic Center Drive in Rochester, which is a few short turns from the Mayo Clinic Campus downtown.
In addition to the new single-family home permits, Blair-Hoeft said, 2021 included 47 units opening for rent in the new Bear Path Apartments.
All that has led to a busy real estate market. According to a housing report on Redfin.com, Byron's median home price rose from about $261,000 in 2019 to $336,000 in 2021.
Blair-Hoeft said one of the things that helps with that consistent growth in Byron is that the city keeps getting new land to develop for residential neighborhoods.
"We also have to have people around our city willing to sell (land) for development," she said.
That means a constant inventory of new available lots. And in 2021, that first step of development continued. A final plat was approved for 30 lots in the Stone Haven II subdivision, and another 12 were approved in the East Village development.
Looking down the road, another 183 lots received a preliminary plat on 20 acres in the Somersby West neighborhood.
Those were among several accomplishments the city racked up during 2021.
Other milestones included a new shelter and a full year of baseball/softball at the Byron Community Baseball Complex, a new Culligan office opening in a 10,000-square-foot facility in town, and 1,450 feet of newly paved sidewalks.
But the biggest accomplishment, Blair-Hoeft said, was the one that won't be seen for years to come: the decision on the locations of interchanges and the route of Highway 14 through town in a future MnDOT project.
"We started that process in 2019 for the third time," she said.
"I just retired about a year ago," Glassmaker said. "Every night, I left work and it’s an eight-minute drive home, not half an hour or 45 minutes. You get there, and it's Byron. It's your town."