Coast shows new ways to rebuild and stay safe?

Published 12:04 am Sunday, August 13, 2006

Those in need of a new home were treated to a show of prospective manufactured homes for sale at the Coast Coliseum this weekend.

Various types of homes were on display from the largest of pre-built homes that barely resemble something manufactured off site to those built on a 8-foot by 20-foot trailer.

The largest a manufactured home could be was about 3,000 square feet with the smallest home on display coming in at about 200 square feet with the loft. The various air conditioned homes were lined up for the public to tour at the Coast Coliseum.

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In two to three weeks, purchasers can have a new home manufactured and in another two to three weeks that home can be placed on the purchaser’s building site and be ready to have the utilities hooked up, said James Smith of Legacy Homes, one of many housing companies there.

“So about six weeks and you can be ready to hook up utilities and move in,” Smith said.

A home like the one on display at the show with 1,734 square feet of living space would run about $129,000 complete with foundation, set up and trim, Smith said. For the same price per square foot, or about $76 a square foot, a prospective home buyer could buy a new home with square footage ranging from 1,150 square feet to 3,000 square feet, Smith said. The homeowner would be responsible for having the utilities hooked up, he said. The new homes tout nine-foot ceilings, 2×6 extension walls, 6 inch crown molding and four-inch base board molding, Smith said in his practiced sales pitch.

To meet the new elevation standards set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for some locations on the coast, an engineer would need to be employed for the installation of one of the homes on really high pilings, which would increase the cost of the home, Smith said. The home would have to be placed on top of the pilings and secured with the proper fasteners, he said. Combined with the new height requirements and the 140 mph wind rating, these homes could be a viable replacement for those lost in Hurricane Katrina, he said.

No matter if the home will be on four-foot pilings required for some places on the coast or up the highest 22-foot pilings required by FEMA for others, it will have to be put in place by a crane, Smith said.

Also on display was an alternative to the FEMA trailer, a Martin Home. Priced in the mid $30,000’s a new mobile home built on the 8×20 trailer can be ready in about two to four weeks for mobile living or converted for permanent use as a guest house or pool cabana, said Julie Martin, owner of The Martin House Company, LLC.

Martin said there are two residential models and one commercial model that her company can build. The three models to choose from all offer about the same living space of about 200 square feet, loft included, Martin said.

“Every square inch is used well,” Martin said.

While the small homes on wheels are built to International Building Code standards, they are meant to go with evacuees, Martin said. This option of a moving home will allow pet owners to protect the furry family members, eliminating the worry about shelters, she said.

Also on hand were representatives of Coast Electric and the City of Picayune. Scott White with Coast Electric was helping residents prepare for the already underway hurricane season while teaching them about energy conservation. Tips such as generator safety, hurricane supply preparations and a list of storm names were available, he said. Non-hurricane related tips, such as tips on energy conservation, also were shared with visitors to the Coast Electric booth, he said. The power company is offering cash incentives for homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient, he said. The cash back incentive is based on homes with heat pumps and how much of an energy conservation rating they receive after an inspection, White said.

Representatives with the City of Picayune were networking with people in other booths and looking for additional resources, said Roger Colwell.

Most of the people who approached the booth mentioned Picayune’s population increase, said Suzanne Sheen. Sheen and Colwell said they were also promoting Picayune Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce.