Developer may put 7 new homes on Wells Street

Seven vacant lots on the 700 block of Wells St. could be the site of new single-family homes come spring. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

For Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, putting up new homes on the 700 block of Wells St. has been a decade in the making.

The organization first started working with the city well before the recession to put in properties on the short street, just off of the intersection of Payne Ave. and Phalen Blvd.

Now, they’ve got the funding in place, and just applied for developers’ rights to put up the homes.

If all goes well they’ll break ground next spring on the single-family properties. All 7 lie on the same block, to the east of Payne Ave.

The development is a combined effort between the city, Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, and the East Side Neighborhood Development Company. The city owns six of the seven lots, and is providing about $200,000 in financial aid for the project. Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing will act as the developer, and ESNDC’s brokerage will do marketing for the homes.

Seeing the project close to fruition is a relief for Jim Erchul, director of Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, who’s spearheading the construction effort.

“Everyone in the neighborhood... would’ve loved to see this get off the ground ten years ago,” he said, “but some things are out of our control.”

He noted that the economic recession was a major factor in the project’s delay.

“It kind of feels good,” Erchul said, as the project was “just in the doldrums.”

Roxanne Young, project manager in the city’s Planning and Economic Development department, said the development comes as one of the last steps in a broader development initiative in the area. That initiative has brought other new construction, including the Kendall’s Ace Hardware, and the senior housing complex across the street, at the intersection of Payne Avenue and Phalen Boulevard.

“This project is finally getting the work underway,” she said.

The city is in a 45-day mandatory waiting period, following DBNHS applying for development rights.

In the spring, the building should begin.

John Vaughn, executive director of the East Side Neighborhood Development Company, said the project is a fairly large-scale one for the group.

“With all the positive stuff going on around that corner of Payne and Phalen, it’s going to be pretty nice,” he said.

Erchul said the development was seems viable in part due to location. He noted it’s proximity to Payne Avenue’s shopping and restaurants, as well as the recent senior housing development at Payne and Phalen. He also noted the possibility of living-wage jobs coming to the area via the Port Authority’s nearby Beacon Bluff site.

Originally, the organization had been looking to do multi-unit townhomes on the site. But Erchul said the housing market seems to indicate that single-family homes are the way to go.

He said most of the homes would have a high number of bedrooms, with some having as many as five.

“There’s definitely a lack of homes with lots of bedrooms, and there’s definitely a market for that,” he said.

They should break ground this spring on the homes, and possibly have the houses on the market in the fall. Erchul predicted price tags of somewhere between $165,000 and $175,000.

In contrast, the homes will cost something like $240,000 to build, Erchul said. That’s where the city comes in -- they’ll be providing funding to make up for that gap.

In some ways, Erchul said the new development on Wells will signify a change of gears -- they’ve been working mostly on fixing up vacant homes since 2008, he said, so starting to build new homes is a positive sign.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at, or follow on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.


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