Could tiny homes be coming to Lee County?

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Emma Heaton
Published: Updated:

Miniopolis Builders, a company with a vision to revolutionize affordable housing, is facing challenges in bringing their innovative concept to life in Lee County.

Brian Dore, the general contractor, shared his passion for creating sustainable, energy-efficient, affordable homes that offer a simple yet fulfilling lifestyle.

The company’s plan to develop 80 tiny homes in Lee County reflects its commitment to addressing the critical need for affordable housing.

However, despite significant public interest and outreach, Miniopolis has yet to build a model home, a crucial step in showcasing their concept to the community.

“You’re like, why aren’t people waving their hands in the air saying, ‘Hey, come build for us,'” said Dore, “and I think the biggest component of that is not seeing that touching, not feeling it, not living it not understanding it.”

CREDIT: Miniopolis Builders

One of the major obstacles Miniopolis faces is the need for government assistance and community support, along with zoning and building ordinances.

These challenges have delayed the start of construction in Lee County, where the company hopes to establish small communities for affordable housing in Lehigh Acres and North Fort Myers, neat Pondella Rd.

Dore said their homes exceed Florida building code standards and are designed to withstand category-five hurricane winds.

Additionally, being Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac approved could lead to lower insurance costs for homeowners, further enhancing affordability.

CREDIT: Miniopolis Builders

The innovative 3D concrete printing method used by Miniopolis not only ensures stronger homes but also promotes energy efficiency, potentially reducing residents’ energy bills.

The starting cost for these homes is $145,000, with total costs expected to be less than $225,000, including land, site development, and building costs.

Miniopolois offers three different models. A one bedroom, one bathroom that is 500 sq. ft. and can fit two people.

A 600 sq. ft. two bedroom, two bathroom model that fits four people and a three bedroom, two bathroom 750 sq. ft. tiny home that can comfortably fit six people.

While Miniopolis has already installed one of its homes on the Space Coast, the lack of a model home in Lee County has hindered its progress.

CREDIT: Miniopolis Builders

Dore expressed frustration at the challenges faced, noting that the concept has received overwhelming interest but lacks tangible support to move forward.

“We need the community support and in terms of being able to believe in our concept and take that leap of faith and say, ‘Hey, I’m interested in beginning the process,'” said Dore. “We have the lenders to help customers with the lending process to build these homes. We have the team to find the land acquisition and prepare the site to build these houses. Right now, we don’t have any money invested into building a model. We need the community support.”

Despite these hurdles, Miniopolis remains committed to its vision, aiming to provide affordable housing solutions for the average workforce.

The timeline for their homes’ completion depends on community support and funding, highlighting the need for collaboration and understanding among stakeholders.

CREDIT: Miniopolis Builders

Miniopolis’ hope is that through continued advocacy and support, its innovative approach to housing can become a reality, offering a promising solution to the affordable housing crisis.

A spokesperson with Lee County responded with this statement:

“Lee County has established processes and procedures for funding and soliciting affordable housing, such as through the SHIP program and CDBG-DR. Lee County has not received any application from Miniopolis Builders. County staff has made itself available to answer Miniopolis’ process questions.”

For more information about the county’s affordable housing funding sources:

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