Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat for Humanity made room Tuesday for its first townhouse development.
The low-income housing provider joined city officials for the demolition of the blighted Woodlawn Cottages in Lakewood’s Tillicum neighborhood. Habitat will construct eight townhomes in its place, starting in early 2013, on Commercial Street near Harry Todd Community Park.
Habitat has committed to construct up to 33 homes in one of Lakewood’s poorest neighborhoods. It has started construction of two single-family homes elsewhere in Tillicum.
It has developed some duplexes in the past but it traditionally builds single-family homes. The organization’s move to townhomes recognizes that people are less inclined to want to own and maintain a larger home, said Gomer Roseman, director of site development and construction.
Sue Potter, Habitat’s development director, added that townhouses are a “ better way to serve families on that site. We can help more people.”
Habitat relocated the eight residents living at Woodlawn Cottages to other homes and apartments. Habitat checked to see if they’d qualify for one of its homes, but none of them met minimum income and credit requirements, Roseman said.
City officials have focused on redeveloping Tillicum, including investing $17 million to extend sanitary sewer into the area. Councilman Don Anderson said the project represents the first major residential redevelopment in the area.
“This is removing blight and replacing it with owner-occuiped housing, which will have a really stabilizing effect and create a great visual” for the further redevelopment of Tillicum, he said.
Habitat provides homeownership opportunities for qualified low-income residents. In exchange, they provide 500 hours of labor on their home or another Habitat project.
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