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Would Charlotte support Modern Prefab Housing?


fulcrumsf

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I personally like some of the Prefab designs they have currently available. But with different neighborhood associations that may oppose modern architecture coming in, I question what areas would let these types of homes in. Most of the examples of Modern Prefabs seem to be in more remote areas.

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IKEA has had a lot of success designing & constructing these in Sweden & now Great Britain. Though it will take some time before they ever come to the US - this would be a great option. But I would disagree that these would ever be built as infill - unless it would be post WWII suburban infill development. Most infill housing costs significantly more to buy / build than sprawl exurban housing, thus more expensive housing - mcmansions or multi-unit housing. But this would be excellent for exurban fringe or if it would be infill - lower income neighborhoods or surrounding industrial or blighted areas of town.

Considering strict city regulations though - it would take a large deal of zoning law rewriting for these to be built in the city. These would technically be classified as mobile homes. That would be too bad - I like the idea behind these.

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Not Charlotte, but there's a pretty big prefab project going up in Asheville, called Lexington Station.

Picture pre-fab units stacked 3 tall on top of a concrete block foundation that doubles as below-grade parking. Say what you will about the design (looks like a suburban apartment complex) but the concept, the location, and the construction method are very cool. Pre-fab construction also makes Lexingtion Station quite affordable.

An animation:

LEX.gif

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IKEA has had a lot of success designing & constructing these in Sweden & now Great Britain. Though it will take some time before they ever come to the US - this would be a great option. But I would disagree that these would ever be built as infill - unless it would be post WWII suburban infill development. Most infill housing costs significantly more to buy / build than sprawl exurban housing, thus more expensive housing - mcmansions or multi-unit housing. But this would be excellent for exurban fringe or if it would be infill - lower income neighborhoods or surrounding industrial or blighted areas of town.

Considering strict city regulations though - it would take a large deal of zoning law rewriting for these to be built in the city. These would technically be classified as mobile homes. That would be too bad - I like the idea behind these.

Acually some of these Prefabs are priced in the 300k range just for the unit without land or foundation cost. So they can be a little pricey. And Wired Magazine has an article about these homes in this months addition. They speak with a specific architect that designs a line,and she says that the line she designed is built to regular family home building codes not mobile home building codes. I wounder if this would classify it as a single family home since it is built by those codes,and also would need a foundation to be constructed first?

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I am an owner of pre-fab housing although my house is on the market to be sold. I'm happy with the quality of construction and is no different than homes constructed on-site.

I'm a huge fan of the modernist look of homes. Last month's Wired had an article on the pre-fab housing market that is a good read:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/prefab.html

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The last one (green/cedar one) is not entirely dissimilar to the house I just bought - however mine was built in 1975 and definitely didn't cost 300k

From my searching there are some contemporary houses dispersed in the 70's era middle ring neighborhoods of Charlotte (Montclaire/Huntingtowne Farms/Cotswold), which brings an interesting diversity to what would otherwise be boring old sprawl construction.

However I haven't seen much new construction of contemporary designs - maybe if the land value of other middle ring neighborhoods rises a bit people will start removing the 50's era boxes and replacing them with these... though the McMansion trend would have to pass first I think.

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Wow those are INCREDIBLE!! Some people say that modular building is the way of the future. Although some people confuse modular with doublewide, they couldn't be more different. A modular structure is, by law, a site built home. It is built to the same standards (or higher) than a site built home. They are not intended to ever be moved again once they arrive at the site. They are permanently attached to the foundation. They say most of us have been inside a modular building without knowing it, since many motels, apartments and so forth are modular. It is totally amazing what they can build now. I think the stigma of pre fab is wearing thin as people see with thier own eyes how they can be. I'd live in any of those in a heartbeat. In fact, I think that I will be buying a modular home someday.

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Just thinking about Habitat for Humanity - what about promoting these as affordable options for lower middle income people in the city? Can a profit be made to build these in the city, or would the price of land drive the cost too much.

Considering these are built by volunteer labor, I don't thing the profit motive would work very well with these homes. There have been a number of those houses built in the CLT area however.

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Considering these are built by volunteer labor, I don't thing the profit motive would work very well with these homes. There have been a number of those houses built in the CLT area however.

Ok - that wasn't mean to be taken literal... :lol:

I was posing the question that these prefab houses could be marketed more to lower middle income families. Either through some government partnership or by some benevolant developer (is there such a thing? ;)

fulcrumsf - thanks for the link!

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Just thinking about Habitat for Humanity - what about promoting these as affordable options for lower middle income people in the city? Can a profit be made to build these in the city, or would the price of land drive the cost too much.

As metro pointed out, Habitat itself finds most of its cost savings (which it passes on to the new homeowners in the form of charity) by volunteer labor. So prefab housing would probably not work in their model.

As far as government entities, I'm sure that any time the government gets involved in prefabs, we'd get projects and ghettos. Governments have a wonderful way of fudging up good ideas.

As for benevolent developers, I'm sure there are ways to make it work. I think a while ago, a forumer was even considering shipping containers as a construction material to create low cost housing. The issue seems to come that for any of those "low cost" approaches to building, it usually translates to a perception of low quality or low value on the side of the consumer.

Most home buyers seem to want traditionally built, traditionally designed, traditionally located, traditionally colored housing with traditional neighbors. It is a niche to seek out high density. It is a niche of a niche to seek out unique high density housing.

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^ Again, as I admitted to metro - that wasn't the best comparison. But it just got me to thinking about what alternatives there could be to develop housing geared to lower middle income groups. Sorry for the confusion you all...

But Dubone - as for government funding - I meant some subsidy not a wholesale 'housing project'. But still - your point is well taken. I just see an opportunity for affordable housing, that otherwise - based on some of the examples as so far benefited the wealthy seeking something 'chic'. Though the example in Asheville does look interesting. But also, on the website provided, it did give examples of 1 bedrooms for $215k & 2 bedrooms for the upper $200ks in LA - which I believe would be considered 'affordable'.

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