Construction scheduled to start for Memphis’ first community land trust home

Building affordable housing in Binghampton

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Next month construction on a piece of property in Binghampton will kick-off the official start of something new in the city.

The land the home is being built on was acquired through a community land trust. It’s been done in several other cities but never in Memphis. A diverse group of residents who started it hope to make affordable housing a reality.

The Binghamton community was the perfect place for recent college graduate Magaly Cruz.

“I love this neighborhood. I was active in the community,” said Cruz.

But after seven years of calling Binghampton home, Cruz moved out two months ago.

“I can’t afford it, so I used to rent. I rented for seven years and the dream was to be a homeowner,” said Cruz.

Binghampton is located on the edge of Midtown and has seen a sudden housing boom in recent years. New apartment complexes and homes are being built and the prices are sky-rocketing especially in West Binghampton. Homes there are selling for 300 to 400,000 dollars.

That’s why two years ago a group of residents, including Cruz and community stakeholders, got together to start the Binghampton Community Land Trust.

They acquired land to keep in a trust to ensure affordable housing and make sure residents aren’t priced out of their own communities.

“When we sell it, we lease out the land and you purchase the structure and the house and by automatically taking away this price tag of land you kind of give the land a discount for whatever the house is worth,” said Cruz.

That’s exactly what’s going to happen on the 2300 block of Oxford Avenue.

The community trust will hold a groundbreaking for their first home early next month. Cruz sees it as a way to approach the affordable housing crisis in Memphis.

The Memphis Metropolitan area has a shortage of 38,000 affordable housing units according to the 2020 State of Housing report released by the city in September. Cruz sees this latest project as one way to help solve that problem.

“We’re so excited to have an example to go with our model that it’s not just on paper that it can’t be done in Memphis,” said Cruz. “It is actually being done and it’s going to be an opportunity for affordable ownership for many, many years to come in Memphis.”

Cruz will not be the owner of this soon to be built house. However, she says she hopes to own a community land trust home in the near future.

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