One Day to Build a Modular Home
A brand new community is rising in Yonkers.
Nine built in one day modular homes have exploded into view this week along one side of Helena Avenue in Yonkers.
The new development, called Helena Heights, is part of the Colonial Heights neighborhood, just a block off busy Central Avenue. It’s a tightly built community of homes, almost like townhouses, with 50-by-100-foot lots and only about 18 feet of space between each of the houses.
The modular units — each house comes in four huge sections — began to arrive by truck from a Pennsylvania factory last week, and the first three houses were assembled, each in one day, starting last Wednesday, July 15. Three more have gone up this week. It’s almost like watching giant Legos or an erector set being fitted together.
“So far we’ve had no real problems in setting the houses,” said Deborah Valentino of Houlihan Lawrence in Yonkers, who is co-listing the nine new homes with fellow Houlihan agent Tom Hennessy.
Pat Crosbie, the developer, hopes to have construction wrapped up by Friday, July 31. Then his crew will connect the gas and begin the final landscaping, with sod and Belgian blocks, and blacktop the driveways.
And then, with all city approvals in place, the 2,500-square-foot homes will go on the market, probably the second week of August. Each will be priced at $650,000, with four bedrooms and three baths on two floors. Depending on the sale price, annual taxes will be about $14,000, Valentino said.
“We’ve had buyers looking now,” she said. “The neighborhood is excited about the project.”
The houses are designed like a raised ranch, Valentino explains. Each home has 10 rooms, with the main living space, including the kitchen and dining and living rooms and three of the bedrooms on the second floor. The first level has a one-car garage, foyer, mudroom, office, family room with wet bar, office and a fourth bedroom.
None of the houses has a basement, just a crawl space between the house and the foundation. There are three different models to choose from — the Clermont, the Bedford and the Ashland — with slight variations in roof lines and exterior windows. Four colors of vinyl siding are available: Cyprus Green, Natural Clay, Flagstone and Savannah Wicker.
The factory-made houses appear to be very well made, and offer some nice architectural details and lifestyle choices, including hardwood floors, crown moldings, second-floor outdoor decks, master suites, glass pocket doors on either side of the dining room, granite counters and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, and a washer/dryer on both floors. The bedrooms are carpeted and the bathroom fixtures are chrome.
Crosbie bought the mostly vacant parcel three or four years ago and began working with the Yonkers Building Department on how to apportion the lots. The permit process took six to eight months, he said, “and then I sat on it for a couple of years because the market was going in the wrong direction.”
Over the last two years, he and his son, Jack, leveled the property and laid the foundations.
These wood-frame houses were constructed by Icon Legacy Custom Modular Home Builders. They “are built with nails and screws – and glued together, too, because they have to tolerate 80-mph winds on the highway when they are driven here,” Pat Crosbie said. “That makes them twice as strong as a regular house.”
Another advantage of modular versus houses that are “stick built” on site is that the modular units are built indoors in a factory, with no weather to damage anything during the building process. They also tend to be better sealed and more energy efficient.
The modular sections arrive with nearly everything in place, including plumbing, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, even the hanging dining room chandelier.
The first completed house, at 215 Helena Ave., will serve as the model unit. Jo Anne Eekhof, a decorator with Gemstone Interiors in Pound Ridge, has already begun to stage it for potential buyers.
“When it’s staged properly, it’s an easy sell,” Eekhof said. “Staging works magic.”
Valentino emphasizes that this is a private development of single-family homes, with no provision for affordability and no chance of turning them into multi-family dwellings. Some neighbors had expressed concerns that these would be two-family houses, she said.
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