Cam Knutson’s Ambitious Plans for Northwest Bismarck

7 mins read

Cam Knutson, Owner and Broker of Knutson Realty

Raised in Bismarck, Cam Knutson has always had a passion for the city and its growth. Knutson’s family has been in the real estate industry for over 40 years. Having been surrounded by the industry for years, it’s no surprise that he found a passion and knack for the career. Read on to learn about his rise to prominence, upcoming projects in the area, his 2023 real estate outlook and more!

Knutson left Bismarck to attend North Dakota State University from 2008 to 2012, then worked for Kilbourne Group in Fargo, ND, for six years. He described his time there as “a total blessing to learn about the power of collaboration and intentional human-scale design in real estate.”

However, Knutson admitted that it was always in the cards for him to return to Bismarck. In late 2018, he moved back to work with his family and opened a real estate brokerage. Now, he operates primarily as a real estate developer, as well as a real estate broker.

Emphasizing a heavy focus on family-oriented work, Knutson is working on some more residential developments in the area across two primary projects, Summit Point at Hawktree and Elk Ridge.

The New Development

Summit Point at Hawktree’s 30-year master plan encompasses nearly 1,000 acres.

“We have a new master-planned rural residential development called Summit Point at Hawktree that includes nearly 1,000 acres on the north side of Hawktree Golf Course. Another core area of focus is the Elk Ridge Development, which is a 600-acre master-planned development located in Northwest Bismarck. Two phases have been completed there thus far, with a total of roughly 130 lots, along with a 5.4-acre park in Phase 1 and a new elementary school in Phase 2,” Knutson said.

“At Summit Point at Hawktree, we spent roughly two-and-a-half years master-planning the development, which included involvement from departments within the city, county and state. The project benefits from being located alongside Hawktree Golf Course, a world-class golf course that’s an incredible asset to our community. The golf course itself is owned by a separate ownership group and we commend this group for the vision they turned into reality over twenty years ago. It’s truly amazing what’s been able to be built out there and we are grateful to play a role in the future of the overall Hawktree neighborhood.”

Knutson stated that Summit Point at Hawktree has been a big draw for families and golfers alike, primarily for its close proximity to the city, along with the beauty of the landscape. Over the last four years, Knutson and the team have worked with different families and builders to consider what additional amenities are desired in addition to the golf course.

“We looked at the initial vision that was cast for the area and considered ways to elevate our approach by including amenities rarely seen in traditional rural developments. We really want to take advantage of the additional open space that’s out there by dedicating these spaces to the future owners, as I’m a huge believer in shared community spaces,” Knutson said.

A large part of that focus has been dedicated towards new, forward-thinking amenities, as they’re becoming increasingly common in many other markets, specifically with multi-family and commercial office projects, according to Knutson.

“Our goal with Summit Point at Hawktree, Elk Ridge and the other projects we develop is to help others establish deeper roots within the community so they can join us in being proud to call our community home forever.”

– Cam Knutson

“For decades, it’s always been the same three-story apartments with wraparound garages that are getting built all over the place. They tend to look the same in Bismarck, Fargo and everywhere else,” Knutson said.

“In many markets, we’re beginning to see this focus on amenities in apartments, including examples such as gathering spaces, rooftop patios, shared grills and pools. Those shared spaces are something that people really value and get a lot of efficiency out of through the cost-sharing structure. We asked ourselves, ‘how do we bring that same shared-use amenity concept to not only regular developments but rural developments, where it’s not typically seen?’ For us and the Summit Point at Hawktree project, we will be making a multi-million dollar investment into shared community spaces, with the hallmark being our planned Community Center. We’re unaware of any examples of a rural development in the state which will be at the level of what we’re building out here.”

Elk Ridge Elementary School is one of two new elementary schools that opened in the fall of 2022.

The Summit Point Community Center will be located on a five-plus acre lot that overlooks the golf course and is a place where residents can gather with their family, fellow neighbors and friends. The design will focus on year-round usage with an indoor fitness center, working nooks for those that work from home and want to get out of the house for a few hours, an outdoor swimming pool for use during the summer months and a sledding hill for outdoor activities during the winter. It represents the project’s pinnacle as it aims to unite the Summit Point community. As they began work on the project’s master plan, they realized that there are a limited number of lots with direct views of the golf course, so they placed the Community Center lot on one of the best golf course views allowing the breathtaking views of the course to be shared by all of the residents.

“We’re going to have an amazing outdoor swimming pool, indoor fitness center and sledding hills for the colder months available to residents, which is really exciting for us moving forward.”

– Cam Knutson

“The beauty of this area amazes me every time I’m out on the site. A key component that makes Hawktree Golf Course special is how expansive the course is with different degrees of topography throughout, making every hole completely unique. In the area where the Community Center is planned to be located, there is over 100 feet of elevation change from the buildable area on the top of the hill to Burnt Creek below. This elevated location of the Community Center will provide unobstructed views across the golf course and beyond,” Knutson said.

“We believe many people will appreciate access to shared amenity spaces due to saving opportunities for their individual homes. There will certainly be owners that still build their own items featured in the Community Center, but we believe there are a lot more who would appreciate only having to invest a small fraction of the cost in the overall Community Center, along with a fraction of the maintenance and cleanup costs,” Knutson said.

“The community center is going to benefit not only neighbors who want a public place to get together, but also families looking to meet new people. It’ll be an amazing place for people wanting to meet neighbors and interact with one another, as well as a great space for the kids or grandkids to play.”

In addition to the inside of the Clubhouse and its amenities, Knutson and the rest of the team aim to develop plenty of opportunities for year-round activities. “We have this amazing topography that’s perfect for sledding. We don’t want to create products that are going to be used for five months, then everyone goes into winter hibernation. Bismarck is going to have winter, so let’s embrace it,” Knutson said.

Furthermore, trail access is of utmost importance to the team behind the expansive project. Knutson stated that they’re creating a trail connecting this new phase along the north side of the golf course to the existing development to the south, which also allows people ease of access to the Hawktree Clubhouse.

Check out some of the beautiful landscapes and scenery at Hawktree Golf Course.

Elk Ridge Park features tennis courts, a playground, plenty of open space and more.

Amenity-driven for all Residents

  • New Community Center
  • Outdoor Trails
  • Open Spaces
  • Additional Amenities Proposed in Future Phases
  • New Roadways and Infrastructure
  • Access to Neighboring Features:
    • Hawktree Golf Course
    • Christian Equine Center
    • Lewis and Clark Legacy
    • Bike Trail
    • Misty Waters Marina

“I’m not aware of any rural development elsewhere in the state that will have this caliber of open space, as well as amenity space. It’d be really tough to do this if it wasn’t for the recent surge of activity that we saw in this area over the last three years. As Bismarck continues growing northwest every year, Hawktree feels more and more connected to the city. Years ago, residents at Hawktree would be a 15 to 20-minute drive away from most places inside the city. Now, you’re nearly five minutes from grocery stores, gas stations, the new St. Mary’s High School and Elk Ridge Elementary School, with more businesses and destinations coming to Northwest Bismarck each year,” Knutson said.

“Our goal with Summit Point at Hawktree, Elk Ridge and the other projects we develop is to help others establish deeper roots within the community so they can join us in being proud to call our community home forever.”

A 2023 Real Estate Outlook Through the Eyes of Cam Knutson

We saw a huge boom in real estate activity right after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bismarck has always had a generally stable economy with consistently solid growth, and this was certainly seen in the last few years. We started to see things cool in mid-2022 with elevated construction costs and rapid increases in interest rates. We believe this will be a healthy adjustment long-term as we already see supply chain improvement and downward trends for a multitude of costs. I expect our area to settle back into a more sustained amount of new construction over the next few years with lower costs supporting new construction in 2023, and a more stable interest rate forecast further supporting new construction in 2024 and beyond.

Material Costs:

We’re already seeing material costs fall from the peaks seen in 2021 and 2022. Lumber is a perfect example as lumber futures are essentially back to pre-pandemic levels. At one point, lumber prices more than quadrupled from the lows in 2019 and 2020 to the highs in 2021 and 2022, which is far from normal for the market. There’s a difference between an unfortunate, yet tolerable, 20% increase and a 300% to 400% increase with any material or product. A lot of products and materials trailed right behind lumber in spiking, so we expect many other categories to follow in settling back down in price right behind lumber, and that stability is going to be healthy as we get into the construction season of 2023.

Interest Rates:

Interest rate increases throughout 2022 were certainly another key factor leading to a real estate cooldown during 2022. For the last several months, we have actually started to see slight decreases in mortgage rates, which peaked last October and November. A lot of the current forecasting indicates that we’ll start to see a pivot with a downtick in the federal rates, potentially by late 2023, and then continued reductions through 2024.

The combination of reduced and steady material costs with reduced and eventually steady interest rates will certainly help support stable growth in new construction and the entire real estate market. Stability will be very healthy for the real estate market long-term and will enhance a community like ours that is known for having consistent growth and a strong, steady economy.

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Phone: (701) 220-4124
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: /KnutsonDevelopment
Address: 4207 Boulder Ridge Road, Suite 220 Bismarck, ND 58503