Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Pop-Up Modular Factory Planned for Minnesota

In order to meet the demand for affordable housing, the contractor for this huge affordable project is opening a modular factory near the project to hold down costs and hire the same people that need those homes.

Gary Findell, center, with Dana Taylor, left, and Jim Erchul in St. Paul. 

"Just because it's affordable doesn't mean it can't be quality," said Seanne Thomas, a Twin Cities real estate broker who caters to entry-level buyers, who have been waiting more than a year for a chance to buy a house in Village on Rivoli, which is among the biggest single-family housing developments in St. Paul in decades.

With a star architect and high-end materials and construction techniques, the project shatters many of the stereotypes about the quality and character of affordable housing.

The houses will be priced at less than $250,000 — a fraction of what most new homes sell for today and a hot commodity at a time when house prices are increasing swiftly as buyers scramble to outbid one another.

The Village on Rivoli project has another mission: train a new generation of workers in a modular housing factory that will replace a vacant warehouse near downtown St. Paul. That effort is being led by Gary Findell, a Twin Cities general contractor who wants to reduce the cost of modular houses by building them closer to their construction site.

Findell, a former landscape architect, has been involved in the redevelopment project for many years. About three years ago he founded NeuHus and plans to launch his own modular housing factory in the Midway neighborhood in St. Paul in partnership with Extreme Panel Technology in Cottonwood, Minn., and several business partners and investors.

The first two modular homes in Village on Rivoli are being built by Northstar Systembuilt in Redwood Falls, Minn., but the others will be built in the Midway facility, which will employ 40 to 50 workers.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Star Tribune article

Gary Fleisher, Managing Director and contributor of the Modcoach Network and its blogs.

Contact me at modcoach@gmail.com

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