DULUTH – The city could land its first tiny house development just across from the University of Minnesota Duluth campus.
A developer is looking to build nine separate rental units ranging from 400 to 540 square feet.
The homes will surround a parking lot and landscaped common area at West St. Marie Street and Carver Avenue.
Developer Mike Peller, who has been in the student rental business for 30 years, said the homes will “look like small houses and not mobile homes or trailers.”
“The houses will be traditionally built with wood framing on slabs and typical residential roof pitches,” he said.
Peller anticipates rents to be about $750 a month for the one-bedroom units and $1,300 for the two-bedrooms.
“We anticipate high demand in this location,” said Adam Fulton, the city’s deputy director of planning and economic development. “We’re hoping they’ll proceed with it this summer.”
Last year the city crafted new standards for tiny homes and developments like this as it seeks to encourage creative ways to attract more sorely needed housing.
“One of the things with this pandemic is we are still seeing robust levels of inquiry about new housing projects,” Fulton said, pointing to a townhouse development on London Road.
UMD’s plans to build a new 350-bed residence hall on campus have stalled because of the pandemic, however.
Some neighbors are unhappy with the tiny-house development idea, saying it lacks the “flavor” of the neighborhood.
“I work at UMD and value the students immensely, and I walk to work each day right past this proposed site,” Mae Siljendahl wrote to the planning commission. “I do not even want to think what this area would look like or become with that concentration of students.”
Two multifamily homes currently sit on the project site, including a newer mobile home and a 108-year-old house.
The planning commission will take up the proposal Tuesday.