Local startup planning smart homes in N. Mpls

Tour of Smart Homes in Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Twin Cities startup plans to transform hundreds of vacant lots into factory-built homes--focusing their efforts in north Minneapolis.

Fridley-based Sm+RT Homes put its first modular home for sale at 4309 Irving Ave. N. The four-bedroom, 1,760 square-foot home is listed for $224,900.

"So others have done modular housing in the cities but instead of using modular as the way to build it really cheaply, we've chosen modular as the way to build it really well and really fast while also building a quality product," said Gary Findell, co-owner of Sm+RT Homes.

The homes include smart technology; homeowners can use their phones or iPad to control the surround sound, security cameras and thermostat.

They're being built on residential lots left vacant by the housing crash. Sm+RT homes start at $179,900.

"We're able to build and sell it without any subsidy which in north Minneapolis is very difficult to do," Findell said.

Sm+RT Homes are manufactured in Detroit Lakes by Dynamic Homes. Findell estimates a 15 percent to 25 percent savings on construction costs alone. The housing module was put into place on Irving Ave. N. in about four hours. In total, it took about two months to finish the home--two to three times faster than a typical build.

The company is focusing on north Minneapolis--with five other homes in the works.

"There's not enough new construction housing here in north Minneapolis," said Anderson Mitchell with Sm+RT Homes.

"People need to see north Minneapolis as the final frontier," Co-Owner Ravi Norman added. "We think that a lot of the discussions are about deficits, disparities and liabilities. We think in that conversation people forget about all the assets that actually exist in places like north Minneapolis."

The house on Irving Ave. was supposed to be a model home but Findell said they received enough interest to sell it.

An open house will happen Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.


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