Posts Tagged ‘Sees’

Ex-Amazon Leader Sees Future In Modular

April 12th, 2017 Comments off

A rendering of Blokable Units. Credit: Blokable.

Former Amazon manager Andy Holm sees the future as “Blokable” with modular housing.

Holm, who led the build out of Amazon’s physical locations, including work on the Amazon Go convenience store concept, discovered his pain during that process was actually a viable business. Finding and working with the firms that would design and build the stores, permitting projects and doing site work to get ready to build were all potential roadblocks.

We built and launched Amazon Books in something like nine months,” said Holm. “There was a ton of innovation that was done in a short period, and all of our constraints were architecture and construction. All of our time bottlenecks were based on those two parts of the process.”


Andy Holm. Credit: Geek Wire.

According to Geek Wire, Holm also observed thousands of new people coming to Seattle each year, and developers struggling to keep up with housing demand. Combined with an interest in shipping container construction, it was enough for Holm to know it was time to move forward – his company, Blokable, was born.

The startup is focused on manufactured and modular housing, with the goal of speeding up production, cutting costs for builders and making a dent in housing affordability.

I was really deeply involved in the scaling out of building physical space (for Amazon),” said Holm.

And I just saw how inefficient the industry was, and it all just sort of made sense to me in a moment, and from that point when it all came together, there was nothing else that I wanted to do.”

Holm says that Blokable will build everything from single-family homes, to accessory dwelling units that share property with existing homes, to market-rate apartment buildings, to affordable housing.

Each Blok will be furnished with a suite of smart home technology, including lighting, temperature control and the ability to chat with property managers via the messaging app, Slack.

Instead of starting from scratch, we had designs in place in a week,” he said. “We’re looking at a one-third reduction in total project time in a difficult-to-build location at a price below the cost of traditional construction,” said Jeff Werbelow, head of development for Eden, Utah, based Summit Powder Mountain, where Blokable is working on a market rate project.


A View From the Industry


Credit: Metro.

The Daily Business News has covered the rapid innovations of technology in the manufactured and modular industries, including a Russian company’s claims of producing a printed home for $10k.
As with 3D housing, this is an example of an emerging technology that could – in a few years – supplant HUD Code manufactured housing’s market potential,” said consultant and publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.


L. A. “Tony’ Kovach.

We know that with the proper education and promotion and enforcement of the law, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 gives our side of the housing industry a huge potential advantage.  But so long as we fail to see the proper PEP – Protection, Education and Promotion – of manufactured homes at the local market level, the industry may be growing short term, but longer term is insecure With proper PEP, amazing manufactured housing growth is proven possible.” ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

Billionaire Sees Shipping Containers as Homeless Solution

April 11th, 2017 Comments off

Homeless encampment residents watch it being destroyed in San Jose, CA. Credit: Bloomberg.

In the San Francisco Bay Area of California, housing, along with most everything else, is very expensive. In many cities in the region, this disparity creates a toxic combination: an affordable housing crunch and rampant homelessness.

A billionaire in the area believes that the solution lies in repurposing shipping containers.

According to HousingWire, Santa Clara based real estate developer John Sobrato recently unveiled a proposal to build 200 micro apartments for both homeless and low-income renters, utilizing shipping containers, turning them into units between 160 and 240 square feet with kitchenettes and bathrooms with showers.

I think it’s time to turn my attention to creating a very cost-effective solution to housing the homeless and very low-income people,” said Sobrato.


John Sabrato. Credit: Forbes.

Instead of sleeping in a pup tent or under an overpass, Santa Clara homeless folks will have a clean, dignified, safe place to call home.”

Sobrato plans to lease a 2.5-acre plot of city-owned land three miles from the San Francisco 49ers football stadium, which the city acquired in 2005 with the intention of creating affordable housing.

Funding for that plan fell through, and in October of last year Sobrato approached the city with his idea.

Per Bloomberg, Sobrato asked for a 57-year lease at the cost of $1 a year. In return, his group, the Sobrato Organization, would build and own the apartments, then lease them back to Santa Clara County, which would hire property management and homeless service providers.


The proposed area for development. Credits: Google, The Petition Site.

The project, called Innovation Place, would be projected to open in 2018, with half of the apartments being rented to the homeless, and the other half being made available to renters earning between 50 and 80 percent of the area’s median income.



While many see Sobrato’s idea as noble, there are those that disagree. An anonymous petition began to circulate shortly after Sobrato presented his plan, and has 852 supporters.

While some may disagree, the numbers show that the need for affordable housing is the state is dire: 17 ballot measures were on the ballot last November dealing with affordable housing.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of potential NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) stories recently, where current residents appear to be working to keep manufactured homes or other affordable housing options for communities out.

Most notable is the case in Aiken, South Carolinawhere Councilman Danny Feagin was quoted as saying “As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” in relation to a proposed rezoning ordinance.

For more on shipping containers being used to solve the growing affordable housing crisis around the world, click here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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