New housing options are in the works

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Internet searches, “For Rent” signs, Word of mouth…the ways to find a home are changing — and so are the options for affordability.

“A couple of years ago, the city council passed the kind of Cottage Park ordinance. It was a way to start looking at how we can build houses with a smaller footprint and situate them in such a way that they would be like their own little community. The idea of these houses is that they will face inward and there will be green space in the middle, and they will be connected by trail systems. It is a way for the community to have this nice sense of belonging with each other,” said The Housing and Redevelopment Executive Director Jill Keeper.

On Wednesday, September 14th, The Duluth Housing and Redevelopment broke ground on a new 18 cottage-style units called Fairmount Cottages. They will be located in the Fairmount neighborhood in West Duluth.

The first nine cottages are expected to be completed by July 2023 and ready to move in by August 2023.

Keeper shared how the idea for this style came about from a bill that was passed allowing different architectural options.

“We wanted to give the new cottage home park allowable use a try. And so when the city council passed that the new use where you could do a cottage park, we knew that that was something that people seemed to start being interested in, and they like having their own home, their own space on their own porch, their own storage room, and not share a wall with their neighbors.”

Rental prices for the cottages will depend on income and family size. Keeper says the rental prices are made up of a combination of median income numbers.

“In the 50% area, the median income limit for a two-person household is $34,150. But for our largest units and for our 100% units, the median income for three people is $76,800. So, they will range from probably $800 a month all the way to 1600 dollars a month for the different income levels and amenities will follow suit.”

Multiple factors went into determining what the median income amount would be.

“We do not want to just add all low-income housing together. We really think a mixed-income community is a healthy community. We think this is great for the local workforce. People coming to town looking for that have new jobs. With some of our big industries here, it should really reach a wide variety, including ranges,” Keeper explained.

With a variety in income levels; comes a variety of layout options as well.

“There are six one-bedroom units, one bedroom, one bath and six two bedroom, one bath units, and they range in size. The one-bedroom units are going to be 620 square feet, and the two-bedroom units are 720 square feet.”

These cottages in West Duluth are the only rental options right now. You can not outright buy them. An option to buy a cottage will be available in the future in the Decker Dwellings area.