The front view of the Hammel House & Co. spec house includes the large garage and front porch.
The front view of the Hammel House & Co. spec house includes the large garage and front porch.

While the number of homes in most small Midwestern towns is on the decline, or stagnant at best, a new housing development in Harmony is poised to make that picture much brighter for this Fillmore County community.

The Hammel House & Co. purchased the 23-acre Lutes Scrabeck First Addition in Harmony last fall with the intention of developing it into a new neighborhood. Plans are to construct at least 10 homes in the development in the next 10 years.

The Hammel House & Co. was formed by Harmony residents Steve and Umbelina Cramer, their daughter, Bria, and son-in-law, Charlie Hammel.

“A housing development was started on the southeast side of Harmony over 10 years ago. A few houses were built in the development over the years, but there still were over 30 lots available to develop,” Steve Cramer explained. “My wife and I, along with our daughter and son-in-law, Bria and Charlie, decided to purchase the land to develop it into a new neighborhood.

“Bria is the owner of Bria Hammel Interiors, which is located in Mendota Heights, Minnesota,” Cramer continued. “She and her team of 15 designers are involved with new home construction projects with many of the builders in the Twin Cities, as well as around the country.  So, together, we started Hammel House & Co. to build new homes in the development.”

When asked why they were compelled to take on this venture, Cramer replied, “My wife and I opened Harmony Kids Learning Center here is Harmony in June of 2016.  Our objective was to provide affordable daycare in a truly learning environment for our employees (at Harmony Enterprises) and other families in the surrounding area.  But what we also realized was there is a lack of newer homes in Harmony for these young families to move into.  We were also aware there is a lack of homes designed for the older generation who are looking for an end-of-life home.”

Each home in the Hammel House & Co. development will be situated on a large, three-quarter-of-an-acre lot. The average price tag of each home will be in the $250,000 range. Potential homeowners will be able to work with Bria and her staff to develop the type and size of home to suit their needs. The company is currently building a large two-story spec house with an attached two-stall garage, which will be completed some time this fall.

The Harmony community appears to be completely behind the project. During the March 2017 city council meeting, council members agreed to contribute $120,000 to help bring city services to the first phase of the project. The rationale was the money would come from the existing city incentive program offering $12,000 for each new home built in Harmony. In return, Hammel House & Co. made a commitment to building at least one new home per year for a period of 10 years.

“We will be using local contractors on all of our new homes,” Cramer said. “This project is for the Harmony community and we plan to utilize Harmony-area contractors and businesses whenever we can.

“We’re actually hoping to build three homes per year. And I’m not using the term ‘houses,’ but ‘homes.’ That is what we plan to build. We plan on this being a family-type neighborhood for the Harmony community. We are very excited about the potential of this development,” Cramer concluded.