DULUTH, Minn.– As the city of Duluth looks to address housing issues throughout the city, they’re thinking small.
At least 14 tiny homes will be coming into the Central Hillside community as a way to tackle housing issues in the area.
“So we looked at that site and said, ‘this might be a good area for some tiny homes,’” said Simply Tiny CEO of Simply Tiny Development in Colorado.
Dixon has been heading up the effort, with the first unit to begin construction this month in the 800 block of North Sixth Avenue East. He changed the way they construct homes to better build along the hill, including moving homes off the ground to reduce flooding risk.
“We have a couple of options, we could build taller, we could build down or we could just build smaller,” said Dixon.
Some homes will be priced around $100,000. Supply impacts from the pandemic have caused material prices to rise. It’s had an impact on costs but Dixon says using carbon neutral materials other than tradition wood can help lower that number.
“Sustainability is a core business model,” said Dixon. “We’re looking at maybe some sips panels, a lot of hemp wood, hemp concrete, as long as the city is ok with us using these types of materials.”
The tiny home project comes from the city’s Rebuild Duluth campaign. City of Duluth Senior Housing Developer Jason Hale says the 200 square foot homes can take advantage of small and rectangular lots in communities like hillside that make it hard to build traditional homes.
“There are a lot of smaller lots, 25 feet, 30 feet wide. Traditional development on those now with setbacks requirements, with building standards is difficult,” said hale. “You can get 2 tiny houses comfortably fitting on a 25 foot lot.”
While the rising costs of building materials can create problems, those with the city hope that small tiny home communities will help those who enjoy the little things.
“If they can prove this model they’re going to continue it throughout the city,” said hale. “Our goal and their goal is to figure out how to fine-tune it such so that they can replicate that in a variety of sites throughout Duluth.”
If the project is successful, the city and simply tiny development are looking at other spots for tiny home developments, including the Gary-New Duluth area.