Duluth is giving away free land to build more affordable housing

Applications are due Jan. 2, 2020.
Publish date:

There are currently several vacant lots in Duluth, and the City has decided to give them away for free. 

It's part of a new project called Rebuild Duluth. The program has been launched to reduce housing disparities in Duluth and bring affordable, new development to the city. 

As part of the project, the City has identified 13 vacant, developable sites valued at $5,000 to $15,000. According to KBJR News, many of the lots have been vacant for a long time. 

"If you come up with a good, achievable idea that can provide affordable housing on the land, it's yours. For free," Mayor Emily Larson explains.

That said, the lots up for grabs present certain challenges and developers will need to get creative. Some lots are as narrow as 25 feet, others are located on steep hills.

The project outline says it's looking for "skinny homes" that are tall, narrow, and architecturally appealing. The City also suggests structures that are "slab on grade" without basements and made out of prefabricated structural materials to cut down on costs and building time. 

If you're interested in claiming one of these lots, you'll need to submit an application by Jan. 2, 2020. The application should include a general site and floor plan, as well as a concept level elevation design, construction timeline and budget. 

The construction also must adhere to all City zoning requirements and be completed within 18 months of closing on the lot. 

The City will review and select applicants based on the rubric on page 9 of the program outline. The rubric includes things like lot density, construction timelines, landscaping, energy efficiency, and affordability. 

Selected applicants will be notified mid-February and, following development meetings, the land will be transferred in the spring. 

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