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First Kent County Land Bank modular home hits market with statewide interest

The land bank recently ordered 10 new modular homes with hopes to build them over the winter.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Kent County Land Bank put its first modular home on the market, a process it hopes to replicate across the state.

The land bank, rebranded as InnovaLab over the summer, installed three homes in Grand Rapids this past June. The 2,000 square-foot home on Sigsbee Street SE near Eastern Avenue was listed Saturday. Although it’s new construction, it fits well with older homes in the neighborhood.

The land bank recently shifted its focus to building modular homes on vacant properties. The homes are sold at prices 30 percent lower than stick-built models, satisfying the “missing middle” of the market, said Executive Director David Allen.

"Houses that could be sold for $179,000-under $250,000: those are the price points where working-class families really need housing, and it's just not available in the state," Allen said.

InnovaLab recently ordered 10 new modular homes. Allen said crews will dig their foundations by the end of November and finish construction over the winter. The organization contracts its builds to Troy-based Champion Homes.

Allen said entities from across Michigan, including the state land bank, have approached InnovaLab with interest in the modular home concept.

"It's probably about 200 properties if they were all to come to fruition in 2019 that would be built,” he said. “And that would be both rental [and] single-family home ownership opportunities."

Innovalab’s venture into modular homes can greatly improve the economics of local communities, Allen said.

“In Grand Rapids we have a housing shortage, and anything we can do to help solve and ease that crisis is important,” he said.

The 10 new modular homes are expected to hit the market in spring of 2019.

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