Modular Homes Gain in Popularity

For anyone that has ever worked with a Lego set, it is easy to understand the appeal of modular thinking. Consistency, ease of construction and interchangeability immediately come to mind.

According to Preston, chief editor of Jetson Green, the business today of off-site fabricated homes – shipped as modules, kits or panels – is robust.  “Some companies are shipping more homes every month.  Indeed, prefabrication offers several potential benefits that the housing industry cannot ignore: accelerated construction, controlled construction, construction without the elements, and minimal waste.”

Many of these modular homes are now being marketed under a green heading. For instance, last year, Nationwide Homes launched the eco-cottage (left-hand photo). Ranging in size from 300 to almost 600 square feet, the eco-cottage might be used for “a separate sleeping quarters or hobby space for your arts & crafts or even an office space,” writes Nationwide.

There are many reasons for the appeal of prefabricated homes: cost, less waste, factory precision, ease of construction and energy efficiency representing a few of the basic considerations. In addition, there is the perceived “green factor.”

According to Modular Homes, “Green modular homes are now being built that allow people to live comfortably without using as many natural resources.”

Of interest, a majority of these modular homes have been designed considerably smaller than traditional American homes.

“Modular homes are more than just compact; they are designed so that air circulates more easily, making the temperature easier to control,” writes Modular Homes. “The homes are also built with materials that will keep them better insulated than standard homes. It takes far less energy to heat or cool a green modular home than it does a standard dwelling.”

In addition, modular homes are not only built with little waste, they are nice to look at. The Massachusetts home shown in the left photo, was designed by BluHomes.

The next four posts will explore modular, or prefabricated homes, looking at these categories: design, size, cost, materials, and their green footprint.

Kohl’s may want Bradlees sites.(Business)

The Boston Herald January 22, 2001 | Gatlin, Greg The name Kohl’s probably means little to most New Englanders.

But you can bet bankrupt retailer Bradlees Inc. is well acquainted with Kohl’s. The name undoubtedly also means something to bankrupt retail legend Montgomery Ward & Co., which like Bradlees is in the process of shutting its department stores.

Sears Roebuck & Co., which said earlier this month it will close 89 specialty and department stores amid soft sales, knows Kohl’s Corp. So does J.C. Penney Co., which has seen its sales decline, in part because one-time Penney shoppers are gravitating toward Kohl’s’ 320 moderately priced, family-oriented stores in 26 states. in our site kohls printable coupons

Fast-growing Kohl’s Corp. has taken a toll on all of those chains. At a time when some storied regional and national retailers are contracting or failing, Kohl’s, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., plans to add 55 to 60 stores this fiscal year.

“Part of the reason others are contracting is because they’re expanding,” said noted Goldman Sachs analyst George Strachan.

Kohl’s has racked up impressive sales gains, including a 14.8 percent rise in December same-store sales, when most retailers reported anemic growth at best. The company, with nearly $4.6 billion in sales last year, is widely praised by analysts, described by one as “the stand-out performer among retailers.” So will New England shoppers get to know Kohl’s better? Analysts say it’s not a question of if, but when.

Traditionally a Midwest retailer, Kohl’s is on the move, marching up and down the Eastern seaboard and into the West. So far its presence in New England is limited to eight stores in Connecticut, all former Caldor sites that Kohl’s opened last year.

Kohl’s says it has Georgia on its mind, with plans to open 15 Atlanta area stores by early March. But observers say Boston can’t be too far behind. The 39-year-old Wisconsin chain is said to be eyeing the Bay State.

An auction of bankrupt Bradlees’ leases, which starts today, may offer Kohl’s a window of opportunity.

Jay Van Cleave, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee, recently advised investors that Kohl’s’ entry into the Boston area market is “a certainty” and “just a matter of timing.” A Kohl’s spokeswoman allows that store closings by Hub retailers including Bradlees offer “a number of opportunities.” But she wouldn’t say whether Kohl’s has an interest in any of those stores, or the Boston market.

“I can’t comment, other than to say we do take a look at real estate opportunities,” said the spokeswoman, Susan Henderson. “We have not made any announcements regarding that area of the country.” But, she added, “We are interested in being a coast-to-coast retailer and being a national retailer.” By year end, Kohl’s plans to have nearly 380 stores. That’s up from 214 stores two years ago. Henderson said Kohl’s is “very particular” about finding the right store locations, and when it moves into a market, it opens a number of stores all at once, as it will in Georgia.

Kohl’s is something of a department store and discounter hybrid. It’s known for clean, well-lit and contemporary looking stores, often located in easy-access strip malls. The chain targets middle-income shoppers with the brand-name clothing, shoes, accessories and housewares so many want: Nike, Reebok, Levi’s, Dockers, Wonderbra.

“At Bradlees, you wouldn’t find those national brands,” Strachan said.

Often Kohl’s prices are lower than those offered in traditional department stores.

Eric Beder, an analyst with Ladenburg Thalmann in New York, said Kohl’s takes the best items shoppers can find at J.C. Penney and Sears and charges 20 to 30 percent less, in a more convenient store.

“They beat the living daylights out of mid-price department stores,” Beder said.

To the extent Kohl’s beats up department stores, analysts say it does it with well-stocked stores and a convenient layout. Kohl’s purchasing power and vendor relationships allow it to provide good deals on top brands. It keeps overhead costs low and benefits from the lower rents of strip malls. go to site kohls printable coupons

If history is any guide, Kohl’s is looking carefully at the Bradlees stores. The retailer entered the Philadelphia market by leasing 11 former Clover discount stores in 1996 after that chain went out of business. It moved into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut last year after buying 33 leases from defunct Caldor Corp., which liquidated two years ago after a lengthy bankruptcy.

Kohl’s, whose stores average 85,000 square feet, would fit more neatly than some into former Bradlees stores, which average 75,000 square feet.

“As you go through the retail mathematics, you end up with Kohl’s more times than not as a logical player for these (Bradlees) locations,” said Bruce Kaufman, a partner with commercial real estate firm Finard & Co.

Earlier this month, Bradlees’ former owner, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., struck a deal, pending bankruptcy court approval, to help sell off Bradlees’ 105 store leases and other properties.

Kaufman doesn’t expect that deal to deter Kohl’s from bidding on Bradlees sites. Kohl’s stores would pose no threat to Stop & Shop, as rival supermarket stores might, he said.

In fact, throughout much of the 1960s and 1970s, when Bradlees was owned by Stop & Shop, both chains often had anchor stores in the same shopping centers.

Beder says the stores Kohl’s acquired from Caldor in the Tri-State area have been wildly successful in their first year. “They’ve been a huge winner for them,” he said.

Based on that success, he thinks the chain will be aggressive in moving deeper into New England.

Said Strachan: “I guarantee, based on what happend with Caldor, they’ve scrutinized the (Bradlees) store base very carefully.” Gatlin, Greg

About the Author

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.
  • Here’s some great insights on green, prefab housing from LivingHomes CEO Steve Glenn:
    He says style comes first even in green homes, looks like that holds true in these examples. You could convert a garden shed from a home store into a small dwelling but nobody seems to be doing that.

  • Great site and I look forward to checking out your updates!