Elvis sighting in Shorelands?

Castle a la Diane

Castle a la Diane

Mobile homes on stilts replacing bungalows made obsolete by FEMA regs.

In the past few months, modular builders say they are seeing an uptick in demand that they hope will translate to long-term business, especially as new federal flood maps and insurance rates force more homeowners to elevate structures. Because many older beach bungalows won’t survive being raised, those owners may choose to replace them with new, easy-to-produce modular homes that are fabricated in factories and shipped in sections to the building site.

Two days after Sandy struck, John Westrum, who has built modular homes primarily in Pennsylvania suburbs, took a helicopter ride to survey the devastation along the Jersey Shore and had an idea: He would take his prefab houses and put them on stilts.

Westrum Development’s first elevated modular home is scheduled to open Saturday in Seaside Heights. The two-story, Cape Cod was assembled in 28 days after the local permits were secured and the land was cleared. Former telephone poles were used to lift the first floor about 10 feet above the ground.

Architects said the modular-construction industry’s improved quality control and ability to use materials in different ways have helped bring its buildings up to design standards in the city. “The day of modular housing is dawning in New York,” said Rick Bell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York.

As money trickles in from insurance companies and government, a handful of modular homes on stilts are popping up in some communities in New Jersey, Long Island and Staten Island. Many can be made to evoke beachside bungalows or modernist vacation homes. That has helped allay concerns about identical rows of new, cheap-looking homes.

“It looks beautiful,” said Anthony Rusciano, a local 51-year-old utility worker in Seaside Heights who is buying a three-bedroom modular home from Westrum for $179,000. “It went up so fast. I don’t have the time or patience to deal with any of this stuff anymore.

Modular single-family homes aren’t necessarily less expensive than traditional construction, but may save time because they can be built in the factory while owners are waiting for demolition and foundation work. Once the modules are built and transported to the city, it takes a day or two to bolt the pieces into place.

Michael Fehling, a 55-year-old Island Park resident, and his wife, decided to build a modular home seven feet in the air after docks smashed into their 90-year-old wooden house. Their new home took about a week to build in the factory and was delivered from Pennsylvania a month ago. They plan to move in at the end of August, after contractors finish with touches such as radiant heat and fireplaces. He doesn’t miss the old place.

“A house that’s almost 90 years old, it’s not going to have the insulation.It’s not going to be built as strong. The house was always cold. The house wasn’t level,” he said. “With the breeze going through the whole house, I don’t miss that.”


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Old Greenwich, Waterfront

3 responses to “Elvis sighting in Shorelands?

  1. t

    Since FED standards went into place in 1976, Mobile/Modular homes are considerably built stronger than standard stick construction. Also if one resides in a mobile home, one is not subject to real estate tax on that home, hence most taxing districts dont allow mobile homes

  2. okay, so if i go shipping container modular, can i still poach my neighbor’s WiFi signal?

  3. Sea level rise is a green polyester veil to conceal lousy planning and one up by imposing Statist only rule.
    The oceans have risen less than 1/3rd the width of standard yard marker on the NCAA & NFL football field in the last 100 years. 1938 Hurricane had a 38 foot tidal surge at its peak. Barriers and other real planning techniques have been proven time and again to work. FEMA coastal regulations are a joke, an expensive one.
    Riverine FEMA standards have some real promise and benefit, to alleviate the problems largely caused by lousy planning, engineering and Army Corps “policy”.
    Green Fear money and birdy based religion is widespread.
    Next time you are motivated to workout at the Y after watching a football game on TV you will pass under the green veil that so pointedly glimmers in triumph of those operators here in Town.

    Many middle fingers from the mid joint to the tip also measure ocean level rise.

    Will modular construction be required soon to minimize disturbance ?