Two local developers will turn an existing Bangor mobile home park on Hammond Street into a tiny home park with 34 properties.
Louie Morrison, a Bangor landlord who owns 300 rental units throughout the city, bought the Martel mobile home park at 1337 Hammond St. last year with his business partner, Luke McCannell, with hopes to replace the mobile homes with tiny houses without displacing mobile home residents.
The Bangor Planning Board unanimously approved the project Tuesday evening.
Tiny homes are miniature manufactured houses — usually around 400 square feet or less — that became popular via a social movement that advocated for people to downsize their living quarters. Unlike mobile homes, the tiny homes in McCannell’s and Morrison’s proposal will be built on slabs.
Morrison said he and McCannell were interested in building tiny homes because the properties can be built quickly, which will offer the city relief from its housing shortage. Tiny homes also are a more affordable housing option for residents seeking quality housing at a time when the cost of living in Maine continues to rise.
Morrison predicted three to four tiny homes can be built in a month once construction begins.
“Bangor needs housing badly. It has since I got into it 14 years ago,” he said. “We could make some changes for the benefit of the community. I can put a roof over so many people’s heads in such a short amount of time.”
The existing mobile home park had about 22 properties when the pair purchased it, but they started hauling away abandoned properties and bought a few residents out of their mobile homes to “give them a fresh start,” Morrison said.
“Our goal is to not kick anyone out that’s still living there,” Morrison said. “It’d be like kicking my grandparents out of their home — I’d never do it.”
Now, about nine inhabited mobile homes remain. Those residents will remain in their mobile homes during construction, then Morrison and McCannell hope to move them into tiny homes after they’re built, if they choose.
“Right now they own their mobile homes, but it’s costing them thousands of dollars a month to heat and maintain them,” Morrison said. “Our goal is to put them in brand new homes however we do that.”
The permanent homes will be 320 square feet with a 96-square-foot attached porch and sit in a roughly 1,400-square-foot lot. Each unit will be built on a slab, have a backyard and a one-car parking space. The homes will also be entirely electric with a heat pump, Morrison said.
Construction is slated to begin this fall and finish in spring 2024.
The homes will be rented out until they’re all built, then the units will be sold to their tenants like a mobile home, Morrison said. Monthly rent for the homes is estimated to be from $800 to $1,200.
Morrison said he has already received 200 applications from people interested in renting one of the tiny homes, Morrison said. Various organizations that advocate for veterans, those experiencing homelessness and the area’s economically disadvantaged have reached out to Morrison as well.
“The outreach has been completely overwhelming,” Morrison said. “People want to live that easy, energy efficient life. These homes will be nice, cost very little to heat and they’re adorable.”
McCannell and Morrison’s proposal comes four months after the City Council voted to allow developers to construct the miniature-sized homes within city limits to help ease the housing shortage.
The city requires lots for a single tiny home to be at least 1,000 square feet and have at least one parking space per unit. Tiny homes also need to follow all other building code requirements, like needing to have indoor plumbing and be able to operate without a motor.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the size of the tiny homes.