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New redeveloped houses on York Street open for tours

George Hammock with Crawford Builders worked on the house at 130 York Street. Several houses on York Street will be open for tours Sunday.
George Hammock with Crawford Builders worked on the house at 130 York Street. Several houses on York Street will be open for tours Sunday. cbertram@herald-leader.com

A ribbon-cutting will be held Sunday on York Street to mark completion of phase one of an affordable-housing program by the North Limestone Community Development Corporation.

Six shotgun houses are included in the first phase. One is a renovated house and five are new construction. Of those five, two were made from metal shipping containers.

Each house is approximately 14 feet wide and 50 feet deep, with 700 square feet of living space.

A shotgun looks so small from the outside, you expect the interior to be cramped and dark, said Kris Nonn, the development corporation’s director of design and construction.

What a surprise when you step inside. Each layout is different; the interiors are open and spacious. One has a garage door on the front so when it’s lifted, the whole front room of the house is open. Exteriors feature covered front and back porches.

Nonn decided to build shotguns because he was interested in “how much you can do with that form. It’s simple enough that anybody could come up with a design and do it on their own.”

His goal was not simply to build basic affordable housing, “but push the envelope and make things beautiful, inspiring, energy-efficient and flexible, so not one size fits all,” he said.

York Street has a new zoning designation that will allow owners to live and work from their homes.

These houses are for first-time homeowners who make at or below 80 percent of the area median income as established by the federal government. All are priced at $80,000. They are deed-restricted for 15 years for people who meet the income requirements.

The project was financed with a loan and a grant from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, a no-interest line of credit from the Knight Foundation, a traditional construction loan from People’s Exchange Bank, and a grant from ArtsPlace America.

Building partners were Crawford Builders, NOMI architects and Emerge/Recontain contracting firm.

The next phase of the York Street project will be nine new houses — three shotguns and six larger houses with three and four bedrooms.

An American Water Co. tank on the street will soon be painted over with a mural. The chain-link fence around the tank will be taken down, and a small park and a butterfly garden will be installed around the base.

Beverly Fortune is a former Herald-Leader reporter. You can contact her at beverlyfortune123@gmail.com or (859) 948-7846.

If you go

The completion of the first phase of NoLi CDC’s LuigART Makers Spaces

When: 2-4 p.m. Oct. 16

Where: York Street. Open houses and tours will be at 130, 136 and 140 York.