New community land trust homes in Duluth

Two new community land trust homes in Duluth

On Thursday, One Roof Community Housing and community partners celebrated the completion of two new community land trust homes in Duluth.

On Thursday, One Roof Community Housing and community partners celebrated the completion of two new community land trust homes in Duluth. The homes, located at 1317 and 1319 99th Avenue West, are the first two instances of the LANG model offered by Lagom Modular.

Each home has two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, and 1200 square feet on two levels. Designed by Office Hughes Olsen, the pair of houses are of the second generation of narrow-format single-family homes that can fit on the many vacant 25-foot wide lots in Duluth.

“We used every part of the space to make it very livable, very comfortable,” said Housing Development Coordinator Debbie Freedman. “We’ll have parking, and they’ll also have a shed.”

In 2020, the City of Duluth revised the zoning code to adjust the minimum building width requirement. The goal was to promote the development of new housing stock on small lots.

One Roof’s proof-of-concept prototype house at 5810 Redruth Street was the first narrow lot development approved by the City of Duluth. The LANG model differs by reorganizing the design, having a front entry rather than a side entry, and an open-concept kitchen/dining/living room.

“This design was created to be something that you could build on narrower blocks,” said Freedman. “The concept is all the services kind of like the stairs, the pantry, the half bathroom are on one side, and then the rest of is open for living space. They kind of tucked the refrigerator out of the way, so this space feels really big. You don’t see a big refrigerator in your kitchen, but it’s very accessible to the kitchen. And they have really large windows to make the space feel bigger, too.”

Both homes are all electric and are heated and cooled by mini splits with baseboard heat backup. There is a 6.4 kW-DC solar panel system that will help reduce electrical utility costs. All community land trust new homes are energy efficient and Energy Star Certified, performing an average of 20% better than typical new construction homes.

Panelized construction was used for the framing. This saves time on site by building panels in a warehouse and then framing the home within two days of panel delivery. A computer program generates plans to build the panels efficiently and with a minimum of wasted lumber, saving material costs.

Each home had a project budget adding up to a unit construction total of $307,443 and a total development cost of $350,543. As part of the land trust program, the sales price will be around $173,000.

“The land trust model is, the beauty of that is that that money that was contributed to make this happen will stay with the house, and it will stay permanently affordable,” explained Freedman. “The household that moves in will have to be below 80% of the area median income. They own a house for as long as they like. Their children can inherit the home. It’s their home. But if they ever sell the house, it will return to the land trust and it will sell to another household below 80%. So the initial subsidy that was invested in this house will be there to make sure that it stays an affordable house for the longest time.”