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Feb. 6, 2023

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Nonprofit putting down roots, this time in central Vancouver

Cottage cluster home project planned in Ogden neighborhood

By , Columbian staff reporter
Published:
3 Photos
Fruit Valley Terrace, a tiny home village for people exiting homelessness, opened in 2021 through a partnership between Wolf Industries and Community Roots Collaborative. The organizations are planning to partner again to build cottage cluster homes in Vancouver's Ogden neighborhood.
Fruit Valley Terrace, a tiny home village for people exiting homelessness, opened in 2021 through a partnership between Wolf Industries and Community Roots Collaborative. The organizations are planning to partner again to build cottage cluster homes in Vancouver's Ogden neighborhood. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Modular homebuilder Wolf Industries is teaming up again with nonprofit tiny homes developer Community Roots Collaborative for a proposed project to build cottage cluster homes in Vancouver’s Ogden neighborhood at 8005 N.E. 32nd St.

Wolf Industries submitted a pre-application to the city on Oct. 17 for the project, called N.E. 32nd Roots. The cottage clusters would increase affordable housing availability by providing 15 modular single-family homes that each include two bedrooms, one full bathroom, a living space, a kitchen and covered front porches. Community Roots Collaborative will participate in the project if it receives state funding and if residents earn between 30 and 50 percent of area median income.

Wolf Industries specializes in building small, modular homes that sell at below-market-rate prices. Each of the 15 homes in the proposed project would be 616 square feet, following the company’s “model F” that can be viewed at wolfind.com/tiny-homes/models/model-f/.

The compact size keeps the homes affordable, said Wolf Industries President Derek Huegel. “They’re smaller, therefore they’re going to cost less,” he said.

This is one of the first pre-applications the city has received for a cottage cluster development under its updated housing code that was adopted this summer, according to Vancouver Senior Planner Mark Person.

“It’s exciting. Cutting edge,” Huegel said. He estimates the project will cost $3 million to $4 million.

Following the pre-application’s review, the next step is for Wolf Industries to submit a site plan. The city would then review the plan for compliance with its municipal code.

If approved, Huegel expects the project will take nine to 18 months to be completed.

Huegel said he has reached out to neighbors near the site to explain his plans for the project. He wants to express to neighbors that N.E. 32nd Roots would not be low-income housing, but rather below-market-rate housing affordable to people like teachers and retirees.

“It’s crazy important to me that we maintain or improve the integrity of the neighborhood,” he said. “Right now, it’s a vacant lot. We want that place to be shipshape. No riffraff. And we’re gonna do everything in our power to do that.”

Wolf Industries would take on the role of building the homes, while Community Roots Collaborative would manage ongoing day-to-day tasks like renting the homes, Huegel said.

Wolf Industries and Community Roots Collaborative previously worked together to develop Fruit Valley Terrace, a community of 21 tiny homes at 1901 N.W. 69th Circle in Fruit Valley that opened in 2021.

Like Fruit Valley Terrace, the N.E. 32nd Roots project fits “hand in glove” with Wolf Industries’ typical modular homebuilding products that it develops throughout the Pacific Northwest, Huegel said. “Why not take care of our own community here in Vancouver with some affordable housing?”

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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