Apartment Industry ‘Reinvents the Wheel’ of Good Fortune as it Imitates Factory – built Housing!

Apartment Industry ‘Reinvents the Wheel’ of Good Fortune!

As ‘micro (apartment) units’ grab multifamily trade press news headlines, ‘park model RVs’, a.k.a. Accessory Dwelling Units (‘ADUs’) & ‘Granny Flats’ sit on the sideline waiting to be discovered by homebuyers & renters!


Multifamily Executive magazine, in its’ August 2011 issue, ran an article titled, ‘How Low Can You Go?’, and subtitled: ‘With sustainability and affordability on the brain, multifamily developers are pushing (design) boundaries with radical new ideas in micro – unit construction’. P.34.

What’s a micro unit? Redefines ‘efficiency’ in efficiency apartments, where “…the loft – inspired, one – and two – bedroom units range in size from 270 to 425 square feet, complete with a kitchen and bath.” (&) “…two – bathroom (sic) apartment floor plans at a diminutive 764 square feet” in size.

But STOP! Don’t those descriptions also describe factory – built housing’s ‘park model RV’ product line, where loft – inspired, one bedroom units range in size from 300 to 375 square feet, complete with kitchenette and bath, (&) two bedroom units up to 400 square feet in size, complete with kitchen and bath? As an additional point of apt reference, the smallest singlesection HUD Code manufactured home, shipped by Cavco Industries, Inc., is only 500 square feet in size! Talk about ‘reinventing the wheel’.

Impetus for micro units? According to Daniel Gehman, a principal with California – based architecture and design firm TCA, “…micro units could see a renaissance in the rental market as construction activity heats up and developers look to pull yield out of ever – decreasing urban infill acreages.” Read ‘high density lifestyle’.

Hmm. Here’s the high density lifestyle tipping point between micro (apartment) units and park model RVs. Condo owners and apartment renters are forced to share halls, walls, floors, ceilings, and ambient noise with neighbors, in a bee – in – a – honeycomb existence; OR, as homeowner and lessee, enjoy freedom from neighbor proximity and intrusion, enjoy outdoor scenery through windows on all four sides of their home, and enjoy two means of egress, not just one!

Micro unit design goal? According to Michael Ytterberg, principal of Pennsylvania – based BLT Architects, “…amenities are becoming so critically important: The reality is everyone is being squeezed. But we certainly seem to be able to cram a hell of a lot into a small area that still feels commodious.” Really? One wonders if architect Michael has actually ever lived in a micro unit? If so, bet he’d soon prefer a similar – sized park model RV with two doors and windows on all four sides!

The generation factor. “…next – gen renters…embrace open – space design that allows for smaller kitchens without boxy cabinets and living spaces defined by function and furniture rather than the formality of walled – in boundaries, (and) such tiny living spaces A) are more affordable and B) create less carbon stress on the environment makes for an easier sell to prospects numbed by the McMansion culture….” And according to Rohit Arnold, a principal of the KTCY Group, “It’s suddenly cool again to have galley kitchens without any cabinets.” That might be true of Echo Boom renters, still single, but probably doesn’t ring true for retirees opting out of McMansions into park model RVs, with a car port and storage shed attached to one side and a screened – in porch on the other.

Interested in learning more about ‘park model RVs’, built to ANSI 119.5 code?
Phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, and request a list of RV manufacturers. For that matter, if you’d like a ‘free’ list of Business Development Managers (BDM’), who work for HUD Code home manufacturers producing specially – designed Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) for landlease (nee manufactured housing) community in – fill, especially on functionally obsolete rental homesites, call the same number or (317) 346-7156, and request a BDM list. On the reverse side of the BDM list is a description and picture of CSH a home. Furthermore, if you’d like to see and inspect a CSH ‘display home’ firsthand, attend the 20th annual International Networking Roundtable, 14 – 16 September, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, in San Antonio, TX.


Speaking of the 20th annual International Networking Roundtable (‘INR’), registrations to date number many more than 100, in fact we’re closing in on our 200 person maximum! If you intend to participate this year, but haven’t registered, don’t delay. Complete the INR brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) accompanying this blog posting, then email or fax (317/346-7156) it back to us TODAY.

What’s especially exciting is the number of landlease (nee manufactured home) community owners/operators who’ve signed – up that haven’t attended any previous Roundtable event. In addition, several state manufactured housing association executives, from across the U.S., have registered. Our hope is they’ll take some of the exciting and contemporary agenda topics back home with them, and plan New York Housing Association – like Super Symposiums during 2012, inviting some of our 20+ speakers to share their timely and oft critical messages with their members! For further information, phone (317) 346-7156.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156.

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