Construction on Kulshan land trust's new Birchwood project starts Aug. 15

Kulshan Community Land Trust officially breaks ground on its latest home-building project in Bellingham’s Birchwood neighborhood at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

The project, known as Indiana Street Homes, will construct energy-efficient, affordable houses on four lots. The homes are being built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County.

A ground-breaking ceremony takes place onsite at 2776 and 2778 W. Indiana St.

KulshanCLT plans to build the four homes—including two with attached accessory dwelling units—to sell to households either at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income level, meaning a three-member household would need to earn $48,850 or less to qualify.

The land trust bought the lots in 2009 using its own equity and Neighborhood Stabilization Funds from the city of Bellingham. The properties are located near KulshanCLT’s Madrona Street home, which was dedicated in March.

“Designing the Madrona Street Home in partnership with The Cascade Joinery showed us that building energy efficient homes our homebuyers can afford is challenging but doable,” said executive director Dean Fearing, in a press release. “That success inspired us to invite Habitat for Humanity to be involved in these four new Indiana Street Homes, and make similar upfront investments in energy efficiency for their homebuyers. Together, we are raising the bar and aim for these homes to be both high performance and close to self-sustaining from an energy standpoint.”

The project’s design team was led by Fred Wagner of Grinstad & Wagner Architects. The Northwest Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects ran a competition to find designs for the homes. Winning designs include entries from: Stig Carlson, in association with intern architect Bennett Hart; Landsem Architects, in association with intern architect Dan Demeules; and Marcus Swed, in association with intern architect Marc Griffin.

Two of the homes will be built by Emerald Builders of Ferndale. Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County will construct the other two, making use of Carlson’s and Swed’s designs.

The homes should be completed by summer 2013.

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