Six-house pocket neighborhood comes to Fenwick Avenue

A new development in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood will create affordable houses for first-time home buyers.

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A new development in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood will create market-rate houses aimed at first-time home buyers. 

Community Rebuilders LLC , a Willoughby-based company, is leading construction on a pocket neighborhood that will contain six bungalow-style houses located on Fenwick Avenue.  

Each house will be 1,300 square feet and have three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half bathroom, a full basement and a detached, two-car garage. They will also each have a full or half porch and use underground electric.

Three of the homes, located at 4415 Fenwick Avenue, 4423 Fenwick Avenue and 4429 Fenwick Avenue, are already completed and up for sale. Project Manager Gene Mulligan said they each cost around $230,000. Mulligan said construction on the next three houses, which will go beside the existing ones, will begin once the first three are in contract. 

A pocket neighborhood is a group of closely-located houses that is designed to foster a sense of community between neighbors. 

“We’re actually creating our own inner little neighborhood,” Mulligan said. “I hope someday when this is all done and sold, the neighbors are friends, and they can have block parties right here.” 

The garages are located behind the houses. Additionally, Mulligan said the area behind the houses offers additional space for parking and turning around.  

“You have a whole strip in the back that’s thirty feet long that can act as parking and as a turnaround to come into your garage,” Mulligan said.  

The lots are about 40 feet wide and 180 feet deep, he said, which provides a significant amount of yard space. The homes are modular, or factory-built, a style of building that Mulligan said makes the construction process more efficient because it eliminates delays that result from poor weather conditions or back orders on needed materials. 

Community Rebuilders “specializes in the construction of new, affordable homes in the Willoughby area,” according to its website. The company has built houses in Willoughby, Wickliffe, Mentor and other areas surrounding Cleveland.

Mulligan said the project started when Community Rebuilders identified a need for urban infills, or projects that sit on vacant or undeveloped land in an existing community, in the area. The company wanted to construct houses that would utilize the land at a price point targeted to first-time homebuyers. 

“Not only do we try and find areas that would be good to rebuild, but then [we focus on] finding an economical way to build houses that people can move into and do nothing to. It’s ready to go,” Mulligan said. 

Kris Harsh, housing director at Metro West Community Development Corporation, echoed the potential for Community Rebuilders’ approach to make a positive impact. “If we can get modular building to scale, then it can bring down the cost of houses for first-time homebuyers,” he said.

Community Rebuilders selected the location because it was wide and open enough for the company to put six houses side by side, Mulligan said. The location also enabled the company to add to the growing area around Ohio City as well as the Clark-Fulton neighborhood immediately to the south. 

“It’s almost like we’re expanding that circle of Ohio City,” Mulligan said. 

Correction: The initial version of this article used the term “affordable for first-time homebuyers.” It’s been corrected to “market-rate housing aimed at first-time homebuyers” to clarify its meaning.

Paige Bennett is a journalist and recent Kent State University graduate. She previously served as general assignment editor for The Kent Stater and KentWired and managing editor for A Magazine. This article was produced through a reporting partnership with the Collaborative News Lab at Kent State University.

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