FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A residential development of 80 rental units – ranches and townhomes – got one step closer to a groundbreaking at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

In a 8-0 vote, the council voted to overturn the Plan Commission’s Do Not Pass on “Odyssey,” a nine-acre development proposed in the 2400 block of W. Dupont Road.

Jamie Lancia of Lancia Properties LLC said 5.5 acres of the project’s nine acres have already been acquired. The rest of the property he is buying from the city, a fairly unsightly looking hodgepodge of storage tanks and a building with a collapsed roof.

What will be built fits right into what local housing studies and the All in Allen plan call for – affordable housing smack dab in the middle of existing, traditional residential neighborhoods.

The trend is national. On Wednesday, Axios, a national news website, published “1 big thing: Suburban housing war.”

“State and local governments across the country are trying to alleviate housing shortages by allowing denser development in areas dominated by single family homes,” it reads.

Elizabeth Webb, public information officer for the Fort Wayne Community Development Division, pointed to the 2021 residential market potential study published by Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc.

“The Fort Wayne report reveals that nearly 63% of the households in the city are comprised of one or two persons. Trends for shrinking households support a market response to build smaller units as a strategy both to meet consumer need for size and potentially to meet needs for more affordable price points – if smaller units do cost less to produce,” she wrote in response to a WANE 15 inquiry.

This Odyssey project, which still needs Plan Commission and City Council approval for its site plan, will offer ranch and townhomes, each with a “generous” one-car garage. Lancia said Rentals will run between $1,500 and $1,800 a month and feature 2-bedroom, 2-bath or 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath units.

The project will have a “residential feel,” Lancia said, and won’t be “cookie cutter.” Building edifices will vary as well the color of the residences.

“Look around now and most developments like this are all the same color,” Lancia said. “We’re going to do different outside facades, siding and textures of stones.”

Maybe one of the most enticing features is Lancia’s offer to throw in a gym membership to any renter who wants it. Other amenities will include a playground and a dog park.

The site offers walkability with several gyms and the Parkview YMCA nearby, but also Walmart, restaurants and other commercial shopping areas are available.

“Obviously, walkabiity and the trail system are really important today and realizing that our neighbor to the south of us is building a for-rent property as well, you’ll be able to connect and essentially walk across Dupont Road, go up and catch into the trail system, and go all throughout Allen County,” Lancia said during a sit-down interview with WANE 15 Wednesday. The rental homes under construction are called Dupont Meadows adjacent to Walmart at Lima and Dupont roads.

“We’ve built a lot of multi-family communities all over in Allen County,” Lancia said. Those include Sawmill Woods, Springmill Woods, Springfield Glen, Communities of Chadwick with like properties under construction – Canal Square in New Haven, Ashley Pointe in southwest Fort Wayne, and Villas at Copper Creek in Huntertown.

Lancia hopes to break ground next spring on Odyssey and have first apartments to lease that fall.