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Houghton discusses “missing middle” housing

The Master Plan subcommittee of Houghton’s Planning Commission convened Monday afternoon to discuss a fairly new housing concept called the “missing middle.” It is driven by affordability and offering options that mostly simulate owning a single family residence, while not foisting as much responsibility on an individual as being a homeowner would.

The arrangement includes condominiums, townhomes, duplexes, and others. A scenario that is often considered when discussing such housing arrangements is that of the typical retired couple with an empty nest. They don’t need as much space anymore and maybe their health is beginning to deteriorate some, so maintenance and upkeep become a problem. With the Baby Boomer wave reaching that age, many are wondering why housing options aren’t being developed that fit the “missing middle” mold.

Derek Bradway, who has an extensive property portfolio in the city, says it isn’t that simple.

So it’s really tough to grab a hold of something when you see it trend on now. There’s a need now! There’s a need now! When you build the types of buildings we’re talking about here, the developer is in for the very, very, very long haul. Decades. Leder: You’re looking for a multidecade time horizon on your investment and your return.

In more populated areas, it is becoming trendy to convert vacant malls into senior housing options. That is expensive though, and as demand is set to fall off when Generation X enters their golden years, many of the same problems for these properties will crop up again 15, maybe 20 years down the road, that they just went through.

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