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Grand Rapids – A western Michigan land bank plans to build at least nine modular homes on vacant properties across Grand Rapids.

Kent County Land Bank Director David Allen announced the modular homes last week to address the local affordable housing shortage. He said the agency, which recently changed its name to “InnovaLaB,” could sell the homes at 30 percent lower than comparable stick-built homes in the market.

The construction will offer “workforce housing” for income earners who are out-priced by their area’s housing market.

“Unfortunately a lot of people there want to live the American Dream of owning their own home but haven’t been able to do that,” said Josh Burgett, director of the Michigan Land Bank. “This is someone who doesn’t need government subsidies but lives in an area where the housing market has out-priced the working wage.”

Modular homes are made in a factory, delivered and then installed on a foundation. It only takes about one day to build and complete each box, said Dave Seals of Champion Homes, the company contacted to assemble the homes.

“It’s all indoors,” Seals said. “There’s no rain delay . it’s all a dry process. Depending on where you put in the order and where the order is for the factory, it could be built in three weeks and be set two days later.”

InnovaLaB and Champion Homes are in the process of installing three homes. Allen said he plans to order six more soon. InnovaLaB owns about 125 lots, which they plan to offer for purchase.

Buyers will be able to choose from about 25 modular home designs with customizable features, Allen said.

“I think the real estate industry as a whole will benefit by having a much-needed inventory to ease the market,” Allen said. “It will make things a little bit more healthy. And, I think the economy will benefit regionally.”

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