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City Makes Moves to Preserve Affordable Housing

April 6th, 2017 Comments off
CityMakesMovestoPreserveAffordableHousingcreditDailyCamera-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Daily Camera.

In Colorado, city officials in Louisville are working to solve a growing affordable housing crisis.

According to the Daily Camera, the focus is on the sole manufactured home community in the city, the 94-unit Parco Dello Zingaro Mobile Home Park, which has served as a cost effective alternative for a number of decades.

The city is weighing city-funded incentives – tax breaks, loans or grants to promote maintenance of the community.

Affordable housing is certainly something that is critical,” said Councilman Chris Leh.

It’s something that everyone recognizes as increasingly difficult in Louisville, and it’s not going to get any easier.”

Also on the table is the potential for a resident-owned community, similar to nearby Boulder’s Mapleton Mobile Home Park. In this scenario, residents would purchase the community and form a co-op.

Community owners in the area and beyond face intense pressure to sell or redevelop their properties as the community around them grows and land values increase. The Daily Business News recently covered a similar scenario in Calgary, Canada, in a story linked here.

In the area over the last three years, the number of single-family homes for sale under $250,000 has dropped 72 percent, and the number of attached dwellings for less than $150,000 has declined by 87 percent.

And in these desperate times, city officials are looking to manufactured housing as a practical solution.

Generally we can say that in addition to the work we do all over Boulder County, the Boulder County Housing Authority is supportive of efforts that can help preserve existing affordable housing where and when possible,” said Jim Williams, a spokesman for Boulder County Housing and Human Services.

These are complicated issues,” said Councilman Jeff Lipton.

There’s lots of balances that need to be weighed. If there was a way to kind of have those interests come together and the area be designated somehow as an area where we want affordable housing, it could be better for us.”

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Louisville, shaded in red. Credit: Google.

In an affordability study done by Amy Aschenbrenner, CEO of the Longmont Association of Realtors, and Kyle Snyder, of Land Title Guarantee Company, the average single-family home price in Louisville last year was $627,938.

There are no entry level housing options left in Boulder County,” said Snyder.

And, as the dream of homeownership moves further out of reach, housing authority officials have shifted to preserving manufactured housing communities like Parco Dello Zingaro.

City officials recognizing a lack of affordable housing often leads to a chill on development,” said Parco Dello Zingaro owner Keith Cowan.

After dealing with several cities, there are times something is said about lack of affordable housing and the very first thing (the city says) is that you can’t build anymore.

Cowan says that there are fears of him opting to raze the community in favor of more costly townhomes. But as a proponent of affordable housing, he’s actually looking to double down.

My plans are exactly the opposite of redeveloping the park [sic],” said Cowan.

I want to build more, but council and city zoning will not allow that to happen. If you want to restrict it and not allow it to expand, then don’t stand and say we need more affordable housing.”

For more on similar situations, including a case in Melbourne, Australia, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Flight and Fight: MHC Residents Making Choices

April 4th, 2017 Comments off
FlightandFlightMHCResidentsMakingChoicescreditCalgarySun-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Calgary Sun.

In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, residents at the now city- owned Midfield Mobile Home Park are heading towards the end of a three year journey – that concludes with the community closing down.

It’s very depressing. I don’t want to see it,” said resident Cindy MacDonald, who also shared that she can hear demolition crews tearing down her neighbors’ homes.

According to the Calgary Sun, six months before the community is scheduled to be shuttered, it now looks like a ghost town, as residents are moving out.

Nearly half of the trailer [sic] pads in the 183-pad park [sic] are today vacant,” said Doug Cassidy, director of real estate and development services for the city.

We continue to work with residents to facilitate where we can. Many of the residents have worked independently, in terms of either moving their units or making plans to move otherwise.

While Cassidy is confident all 183 spots in the community will be empty by the end of September, some longtime residents have said they have no plans to move from the community, which is central to key services.

There are people that are going to fight to the bitter end,” said MacDonald.

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Midfield, identified by red marker. Credit: Google.

Beginning in May 2014, residents of the Midfield community received letters stating that the community would close on September 30, 2017, because aging water and sewer pipes were unsalvageable.

They were told by the Calgary City Council that they would be relocated to the soon-to-be-built East Hills Estates on the outskirts of the city.

Then, the council told them that wasn’t going to happen.

With few options, as many communities are full, many community residents who opted to move their homes versus demolishing them, have decided to relocate their homes outside of city limits.

The city of Calgary offered eligible residents tenants a lump-sum payment of $10,000 to leave and a maximum of $10,000 toward the costs incurred to move their factory-built home, as well as counseling services.

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Credit: Midfield Park.

All residents that have moved have received money, in accordance with the Midfield Closure Program,” said Cassidy.

The remaining residents continue to receive assistance from the city in finding a new place to live, and a housing fair is scheduled for June.

Cassidy shared that after the community closes, the city will start working to remove underground utilities and prepare the land for grading work.

The future plans for the land, which is located in a highly desirable inner-city area, have not been revealed.

Similar cases continue to play out not only in Canada and in the U.S., but also in Australia, where residents of the Wantirna Caravan Park must move as a property firm plans to build high rise towers. That story is linked here. ##

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Killam Properties Makes Significant Moves

January 30th, 2017 Comments off
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Credit: Rental Housing Business.

Canada based real estate investment trust Killam Properties Inc. (TSE:KMP.UN) tells MHProNews that the company has closed on two Canadian acquisitions worth $26.2 million, including 153 apartment units in London, Ontario, and 66 units in Calgary, Alberta.

On December 22, Killam acquired a five building portfolio in London for $13.4 million, or $87,500 per unit. Killam’s London portfolio now consists of 417 total rental units.

On January 16, Killam acquired Spruce Grove Lane Apartments, its second apartment property in the city of Calgary. The 3-acre site consists of 66 townhouse-style apartments, with a purchase price of $12.8 million, or $195,000 per unit.

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Spruce Grove Lane. Credit: Rentboard CA.

philipfraser-presidentceokillamproperties-manufacturedhomecommunitiesdailybusinessnews-mhpronewsWe are pleased to grow our rental portfolios in both London and Calgary,” noted Philip Fraser, President and CEO.

We have been monitoring the Calgary rental market over the last year and Spruce Grove Lane Apartments, located in a sought-after residential neighborhood, has great upside. We have the opportunity to add value and grow net operating income at this property.

The acquisitions bring the company’s total for 2016 to $70 million, which exceeds management’s goal of $50 million in acquisitions for the year.

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Killam 1 year look. Credit: Bloomberg.

Killam also received recommendations from rating agencies recently, with an average recommendation of “buy,” from TD Securities and “sector perform” from Scotiabank. That story is linked here.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, in addition to multifamily apartments, Killam owns 35 manufactured home communities in Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

Killam is also one of the manufactured home industry stocks monitored each business day on the MH Industry’s leading professional news resource, the Daily Business News, on MHProNews. For the recent closing numbers yesterday on all MH industry-connected tracked stocks, please click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Does New Bylaw Discriminate Against Manufactured Homes?

January 27th, 2017 Comments off
DoesNewBylawDiscriminateAgainstManufacturedHomescreditWoodlandEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Woodland Estates.

North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the Town Administration of Sylvan Lake was looking for clarification from the town council on recent changes to a land use bylaw for manufactured and modular homes.

And it received a very interesting answer.

 

It appears the bylaw is designed to stop manufactured or modular homes 10 years or older from being in any subdivision.

According to Sylvan Lake News, the previous law stated that manufactured and modular home designs had to be a minimum width of 4.9 meters (16 feet).

In their response to town administration, the council clarified that the new bylaw states that in the case of so called “newer subdivisions” that were developed, constructed and registered in 2016, or that will be developed in future years, all manufactured and modular homes in those subdivisions would have to be a minimum width of 6.1 meters (20 feet). Additionally, all homes placed in the new subdivision could not be any older than 10 years as of the date of an approved development permit and/or as of the date of an approved building permit.

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Sylvan Lake, identified by red marker. Credit: Google.

With subdivisions developed, constructed and registered prior to 2016, so called “mature subdivisions,” all manufactured and modular homes in those subdivisions would have to be a minimum width of 4.9 meters (16 feet). Further, all homes placed in the new subdivision could not be any older than 10 years as of the date of an approved development permit and/or as of the date of an approved building permit.

The bylaw also states that in mature subdivisions, manufactured and modular homes “shall be similar and consistent with the character of the area.

Sylvan Lake isn’t the only town in the area that has taken a look into their land use bylaws for manufactured housing.

In nearby Eckville, a bylaw that would dictate new manufactured homes moving into the town was discussed in September.

The proposed bylaw would move the current maximum length from 22 feet down to 20 feet to allow for more portability, and would also increase the maximum age of a new home to 10 years old, up from 5 years old as stated in the original bylaw.

The Eckville council said that it was important to ensure the bylaw was proper, as there was much debate on the dimensions and the quality of manufactured homes built before 2003. A decision is still pending. ##

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

NPR, MHAction memo, Cities Raise Fees, Close Manufactured Home Communities too

January 9th, 2017 Comments off
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Midfield Mobile Home Park. Credit: CBC.

The Daily Business News has provided in-depth coverage of the reaction to the National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast and story Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream, and the attack on investor owned communities by MHAction.

The ongoing response from the industry’s professionals is to keep pointing to facts – versus private agendas – that have shown that exaggerations about manufactured homes and the community sectors of the industry are alive and well.

As commentary on Industry Voices (see examples, linked here and here) has reflected, the industry’s professionals do not believe in protecting bad actors.

With all the noise around media-driven misconceptions, it’s often overlooked by groups like NPR and MHAction that even cities and towns shut down communities, or do other things that they blame private investors for doing.

A recent example is found in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The city has plans in place to close a manufactured home community that has been around for over 45 years, Midfield Mobile Home Park.

They treat us like trailer trash,” said long-time resident Rudy Prediger, referencing the City of Calgary’s stewardship of the property.

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Rudy Prediger. Credit: Calgary Herald.

They made promises then broke them, they treated us with disrespect,” says Prediger, speaking of the city’s management.

I have a legal right to protect my property and that’s what I’m going to do.

Prediger speaks to a story that plays itself out repeatedly. Not just in manufactured communities, but in also in aging residential and commercial properties and apartment communities as well.

Per the Calgary Herald, the issues at Midfield began back to 2010, when their city council decided that repairing the park’s infrastructure, which included its aging sewer and water system, was too costly.

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A Google search on this date for apartments being redeveloped yielded over 40,000 possible hits. Conventional housing and commercial properties are also the subject of redevelopment, for the kinds of reasons cited by GMHA’s Jay Hamilton, below.

During that year, notices went out to the homeowners to inform them the community would close down in 2012.

Residents were told that they could move to land the city had purchased for a new community, and would be given a moving allowance to do so.

In 2014, plans for the new “mobile park” — all other existing ones in the city were full — were scuttled. Residents then received notice of Midfield’s official 2017 closure, along with a list of resources, which included contact info for such agencies as the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Mustard Seed, according to the Herald.

Up to $20,000 in buyouts, along with counseling, was offered to each of the 173 owners.

Midfield sits on what’s considered to be “prime inner-city land” in Calgary.

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Aerial view of Midfield. Credit: Calgary Herald.

What often happens in these instances is that private and public community owners find themselves in “lose-lose” situations – which Jay Hamilton, Executive Director of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) – described a few weeks ago.

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

One of the biggest reasons that a Manufactured Home Community Owner sells his property is that over time property taxes increase four and five-fold.  But the owner can’t economically escalate the lot rent quick enough to keep up.  Or the resident could not afford to live there if they did,” said Hamilton.

As communities become surrounded and engulfed by restaurants, Hilton Hotels, stadiums, big box stores, airports, residential and commercial developments – property taxes begin exceeding the total revenue from renting spaces.

As this scenario continues to play out in the U.S. and Canada, the thoughts shared by ROC USA President Paul Bradley are relevant.

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Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities?” Bradley questioned.

It’s like selling tickets to a zoo where ‘only 1 in a 100 are eaten by the lions!’”

Bradley said, “One way to address this is to segment true homeownership land lease communities and differentiate it from traditional ‘parks’ where closure remains a risk, not a certainty but a risk.

NPR’s Latest anti-Investor Owned Community Salvo 

In their latest broadcast and published article dubbed “With Few Legal Protections, Nashville Mobile Home Park Residents At Risk Of Losing It All,” (see their article, linked here), NPR paints a radically different picture than what the USA Today network affiliate, The Tennessean did less than a month ago (see that article, linked here).

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See article that was the source of the above, linked here. Credit, the Tennessean.

Independent community operations manager Tom Fath pointed out numerous errors in NPR’s previous reports, and told MHProNews of the problems that such mainstream media stories cause.

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Sam Landy, REIT.com. To see an exclusive interview with Landy, click here.

UMH President and CEO Sam Landy told the Daily Business News that, “UMH has improved the lives of well over 1,000 manufactured home residents in the Nashville area. We have significantly upgraded communities. Our residents overwhelmingly support the companies actions.” Landy said his firm is preparing a detailed response to the NPR article about their Nashville locations.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow NPR, MHAction and similar cases of closely. The full commentary from Jay Hamilton is linked here. Commentary from Paul Bradley is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Modular Helping to Solve Affordable Housing Challenges

November 1st, 2016 Comments off
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Westgate Manor groundbreaking. Credit: REMI Network.

Two Alberta, Canada based companies are teaming up to create a modular solution to affordable housing.

According to reminetwork, Edmonton-based Step Ahead Properties and Calgary-based Ladacor Advanced Modular Systems have launched construction on their new modular apartment, an affordable housing development at Westgate Manor in Glenwood.

The development will be the first of its kind in the area to use repurposed shipping containers as part of modular building technology.

Using this modular building approach offers numerous benefits over conventional construction,” said AJ Slivinski, owner of Step Ahead Properties.

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AJ Slivinski. Credit: LinkedIn.

There is a faster schedule, and off-site construction will mean less disruption to the existing tenants and surrounding neighbors. The steel building is non-combustible, which is far safer and more durable for rental housing, and lastly the modular construction gives a far better sound insulation between the suites, making them much quieter for the residents.

Ladacor will fabricate the shipping containers into factory-finished modules that will be transported to the site and then craned into place.

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Joseph Kiss. Credit: LinkedIn.

Our Advanced Modular System technology uses repurposed shipping containers as an integral part of a highly engineered, building code and CSA standard compliant modular system for multi-story buildings,” said Ladacor president Joseph Kiss.

The one-trip shipping containers that we use enable us to provide a high quality steel, non-combustible building that is cost-effective, with a fast-tracked schedule. When the project is complete, it will be indistinguishable from a conventional building.

The new complex will be a mix of one and two bedroom units with in-unit laundry and private patios. According to reminetwork, the Ladacor technology has already been used successfully for various projects, including a four-story hotel in Bruderheim, located northeast of Edmonton.

The Westgate Manor project has a building-permit in place with construction ready to begin, and occupancy scheduled for summer 2017.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, we have covered the affordable housing movement throughout Canada recently, including Vancouver’s plans to tackle their homeless crisis here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

Big Bet to Battle Homeless and Housing Crisis: Modular Homes

October 25th, 2016 Comments off
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New modular housing display. Credit: CBC.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson believes that a shipping container prefabs parked on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery holds the key to his city’s homeless and affordable housing crisis.

Inside of the shipping container housing unit is a display model of a single suite that will be in Vancouver’s first-ever temporary modular housing complex.

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Credit: Wikipedia.

We want people in Vancouver to experience what it’s like on the inside and understand the quality and the efficiency and appropriateness of having modular housing to address the particular challenge we have,” said Robertson.

The modular housing complex is due to open in early 2017 at 1500 Main Street, according to the CBC.

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Mukhtar Latif. Credit: LinkedIn.

Temporary modular housing allows us to leverage city owned land and creates innovative partnerships to provide a greater diversity of homes with greater affordability,” said Mukhtar Latif, Vancouver’s Chief Housing Officer. Latif also shared that more temporary modular complexes could be built on vacant lots waiting to be developed.

The display unit is 250 square feet with a small bedroom/sitting area, a closet, private bathroom and a kitchen.

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Inside the shipping container modular suite. Credit: CBC.

The future Main Street complex will have 40 of these units, which will be available to the homeless and those on low or fixed incomes.

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Credit: Horizon North.

Calgary based firm Horizon North, which specializes in modular camp and oil field accommodations, is building the complex. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

Black Diamond Betting on Continued Modular Growth

June 24th, 2014 Comments off

Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based Black Diamond Group has increased its credit facility from $145 million to $150 million with an accordion expansion option of up to $250 million, according to sys-con.com. Black Diamond provides remote modular lodging and workforce housing with associated services to a wide range of industries including oil and gas, mining, construction, military, educational, government and engineering. As MHProNews knows, the company has 50 percent equity partnerships with certain aboriginal groups, and operates out of 19 facilities in Canada, Australia and the United States. Company CEO Trevor Haynes says, “As we continue to see strong market conditions and pursue many significant opportunities in remote workforce accommodations and resource development in general, we are pleased to have the flexibility and potential access to additional capacity to fund our ongoing growth.” ##

(Photo credit: Black Diamond Group–BOXX Modular style units shown)

Black Diamond Shareholders to Meet

April 1st, 2014 Comments off

Modular workforce supplier Black Diamond Group Limited (TSX:BDI) will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on Thursday, May 8 at the Calgary, Alberta, Canada Hyatt Regency, according to dcnonl.com. Through its direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries, Black Diamond rents and sells modular workforce housing, and provides associated support services to a wide spectrum of industries, often in remote locales, through 19 locations in Canada, the U. S. and Australia, as MHProNews.com has learned. ##

(Photo credit: dl-online.com–Homark Homes–workforce housing)

Calgary, Alberta Canadian Modular Project

January 3rd, 2014 Comments off

The Great Plains modular housing project in southeast Calgary, Alberta, Canada, built to house those displaced by the June 2013 floods is set to close in 30-60 days, according to calgaryherald.com. “It’s not a hard and fast date,” said government spokeswoman Trisha Anderson. “We’re not going to throw anyone on the street. Getting people into alternative housing is the priority.” Great Plains was designed to accommodate 700 people, but as Anderson tells MHProNews, the population peaked at 100 people but only 45 remain. Saddlebrook, the other temporary modular development, held 1,100 people but now houses less than half of that number. Those still at Great Plains may be transferred to Saddlebrook, although some may move to affordable housing units operated by the Calgary Housing Company.

(Photo credit: Stuart Gradon/calgaryherald.com–Great Plains modular homes)