"I’ve had lots of questions about it. The reaction is more positive than negative," Galloway said.
The house was designed by architect Adam Walker, of Bridgman, a Galloway company employee.
Although different in style from the early 20th-century houses typical in that neighborhood, the house meets all city requirements in terms of size, setbacks and design, according to the building department.
The narrow 33-foot wide lot prompted a tall, slim design, Walker said. The house is just 22 feet wide, 44 feet deep and slightly more than 26 feet tall, with 10-foot ceilings inside. The 2,000-square-foot interior includes a living room, kitchen, three bedrooms upstairs, 3.5 baths, with a full basement that could be made into two more bedrooms. A two-car garage will be in the rear.
The design is a new concept, prompted in part by Eddy Street Commons, Galloway said, referring to the nearby retail/residential/office development that includes row houses.
An open house at the property will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Galloway wants to keep 925 N. St. Louis as a model and build several other nearly identical houses nearby to sell. They would be priced starting at about $200,000 and up, depending on interior choices made by the buyers, he said.
Although the builder describes them as in the style of traditional row houses, the houses wouldn’t share common walls. There would be 10 feet of lawn between them.
Galloway is having trouble buying nearby property. The vacant lot to the south is owned by the Near Northeast Revitalization Organization, a partnership of neighborhood residents, the University of Notre Dame, several hospitals and the city.
Galloway said the NNRO won’t sell him the vacant lot.
NNRO board president Tim Sexton, Notre Dame’s associate vice president for public affairs, said the NNRO doesn’t have a written policy barring the organization from selling property to someone to build a house on speculation.
But the organization is working to encourage single-family home construction that blends with the neighborhood, Sexton said. "If something stands out from it, that would be a concern," he said.
The preference would have been for the builder to talk with NNRO or the neighborhood association before starting, Sexton said. "They would have gotten great feedback," he said.
South Bend Heritage Foundation serves as the agent for NNRO properties. The vacant lot can’t be sold to the Galloways, foundation director Phil Byrd said. A bungalow that formerly stood on that lot was demolished using Community Development Block Grant funds, and federal regulations require that the land only be sold to an eligible low- to moderate-income purchaser, he said.
"We can see how they are improving this neighborhood. We want to be part of that," Galloway said. He pointed out that it’s private money that is building the house. He didn’t apply for a city tax abatement and isn’t asking the city to contribute a penny for sidewalks, curbs or anything else.
"We’re helping the city. All the subcontractors we’re using are local," he said.
Some neighborhood residents don’t like the idea of builders constructing houses on speculation.
Common Council member Ann Puzzello said she hasn’t received any complaint calls about the house. "But we don’t like spec building," she said.
A green, two-story, suburban-style house at South Bend Avenue and St. Peter Street was built on speculation two years ago. It remains vacant and listed with a real-estate company for $199,900.
City leaders have been discussing creating more stringent regulations to assure consistency of design for buildings in the northeast neighborhood. The movement was prompted by construction of several apartment buildings that neighbors complained look out of place and too large for their lots, according to previous Tribune articles. Those projects met existing city zoning laws for the neighborhood.
The Common Council eventually may approve creation of an "overlay district" for the area, which would incorporate the design recommendations into the city’s zoning code and give them the force of law.
But overlay district regulations wouldn’t affect 921 N. St. Louis. The rules would apply only to multi-family, commercial and mixed-use construction, said Liz Maradik, a community development planner for the city.