NORTH SIOUX CITY - Homebuilders need new homes, too.

Such was the case for Wegher Construction Co. which moved into new quarters last year at 135 Gateway Drive in North Sioux City.

"This was a nice move for us," said owner Rick Wegher, who founded the company in 1986.

The best addition at the new North Sioux location is a complete design center which helps clients choose everything they need for their new homes, Wegher said. Virtually all of the materials needed to complete a home are on display, from tile, wood floors, paint, carpet, granite and cabinets to exterior bricks and stones.

Wegher said he had a design center the previous five years, but it wasn't large enough to support all the products they wanted to put on display.

Wegher Construction has about 20 employees, and all keep busy with the 30 to 35 custom-designed homes the company builds every year. Last year was no different than earlier years in that respect, he noted.

"We started and completed another phase of Dakota Dunes last year, which was Bayhill, our second phase," he noted.

This year, Wegher will begin a third addition called Spanish Bay, he said.

"They'll be upper end throughout the board," he said of the Spanish Bay homes along the Missouri River. "I think we have provisions for somewhere between 60 and 80 lots on Spanish Bay. Some will be on the river. The big guys with the more expensive lots will be along the Missouri River. There will be 16 or 17 of those."

These will be some of the company's high-end custom homes, though he noted they do many other homes in the $200,000 to $400,000 range.

The custom design work has been a unique part of the company for the last 22 years, Wegher said.

Wegher has a series of home models in its Presidents series, which was started four years ago. Every year, a new model is introduced, and improvements are made to the older Presidents

"So people come in and just say 'I want the Monroe or I want the Jackson and I want the Lincoln,'" he said. The customers can make specific changes in the various models, but this gives them a starting point.

"And we typically do about 10 spec homes a year," he said. "We try to leave them on display so that people can view them, but usually we sell these before they're done. So we don't get the opportunity."

Wegher is heavily involved in the upscale Wynstone gated community, set on 600 acres of land in rural Jefferson, S.D.

"We're down to about 50 lots out of the 200," Wegher said. "We continue to sell about 15 a year. We have been for the last three years."

Lots start at a minimum of 1 acre of land and stretch to a sprawling 7 acres. Current homes range anywhere in value from about $180,000 to the multi-millions. And Wegher noted there are no provisions to expand inside the gated community. "So we're down to our last 50 lots," he said. "The way it's going, we're probably two years out before … we're out."

But Wegher doesn't expect to run out of places to build.

In addition to Wynstone and the Dunes, Wegher said his company builds 6 to 8 homes a year at North Greenview Estates, right off a golf course in Le Mars, Iowa. These are mostly the high, upper-end homes, though some homes remain in the lower $300,000 range, he said.

Wegher also builds about 6 homes a year in Sioux City's Whispering Creek development. "We took on Castles Gate as well, which are duplexes there. We took that over a couple years ago. In that, we're down to our last golf course lot right now. So we do a couple of duplexes a year out there," he said.

"Across most of Sioux CIty, we're usually pretty up to speed with what's coming available for lots," he said. "We're usually grabbing a third of the inventories that come out. So we've always got a lot of inventory, not only at the Dunes but at Whispering Creek, Le Mars."

He also keeps an eye on what is happening in other Siouxland communities for potential developments over the next 3 to 5 years, Wegher said, noting that there is a lot of talk about what will happen if and/or when Dallas-based Hyperion Resources locates its $10 billion oil refinery in Union County.

"People are excited about it. Another reason to get to South Dakota, I guess," the Sioux City East high grad said. "We believed in the Dunes right away, and thought it would be a great location for us to locate our company in North Sioux City. It primarily is the reason we came out here."

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