Parts of downtown Davis will be closed off to traffic today for the relocation of two B-street houses.
The structures, built in 1931 and 1935, previously functioned as private and rented residencies. One is a historically protected landmark and must remain in East Davis. The other is under consideration for this title.
They will be moved to a city owned lot at 3rd and J streets, where they will be used as a housing co-op by the local Solar Community Housing Association (SCHA) as part of long-range plan to increase low-income housing in the area. The original lots are privately owned and will be used for new housing units.
“The city issued a call for proposal to develop the vacant lot, using two donated historical houses,” said Elisabetta Lambertini, a member of the SCHA board of directors, by e-mail. “Basically, the exterior of a historical house needs to be preserved, especially the front view and some specific features. In this case, only one of the houses has official historical merit, but both are representative of the construction style of that era. A curious detail: one of the houses has a chimney in the middle of the building that was once connected to a stove used to burn trash.”
SCHA will lease the land from the city at one dollar a year for 60 years, renewable for up to 90 years. The houses will be renovated to meet LEED certification, internationally recognized standards for environmentally friendly building. The project and resulting co-op will be funded and managed solely by SCHA.
“Most of the money for the green retrofit is coming from the mortgage and it will be paid back over time through the rent,” said Carl Boettiger, who is also a member of the SCHA board of directors.
“A lot of labor has been donated. Because the LEED certification is so well respected, developers said they’d be happy to donate or volunteer. Once we brought that element on, it’s been something that the whole larger Davis community has gathered around.”
The two houses will create one co-op that can house a total of eight people and is expected to be open for residency in January 2011.
BECKY PETERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.