TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Tempe's desire for affordable housing has the Phoenix suburb turning to a development company that plans to build a dozen one-bedroom, two-story homes on a small parcel of city-owned land.

The city that's home to Arizona State University's main campus is working with the Newtown Community Development Corporation to build a community of 600-square-feet (56-square-meter) homes near downtown, The Arizona Republic reported this week.

The bungalow-style residences would be larger than the minimalist "tiny homes" that started becoming trendy several years ago.

The community will be constructed on nearly an acre of land in the Jen Tilly Terrace neighborhood. The homes are planned to contain a full kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, a small living space and a back patio. A shared building would contain laundry facilities and community space for residents. The site would also have a communal garden.

"It's sort of pushing the envelope but not reinventing the wheel," said David Crummey, real estate development manager for Tempe-based Newtown.

Current estimates price the homes at about $130,000, but Crummey say the company is looking for ways to get the price closer to $100,000 or less.

A way to lower the cost is by placing the land into a community land trust to keep the price on the land the same for decades, Crummey said. Like a condominium, buyers would own the homes but not the land.

City officials began looking into ways to address the rising cost of housing in 2015, and they recruited engineering students from the university to explore the possibility of a tiny home community.

University student Anna Brophy helped develop the city's plan for the community. The plan addresses the Phoenix area's urban sprawl, which causes people to move into outlying areas to find affordable housing.

"We can't keep spilling out into the mountains," Brophy said.

Construction on the homes is expected to begin next year.


Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com