“Whatever energy you use throughout a year inside that home is roughly equal to the renewable energy that’s captured by that property. There’s no utility bill. It’s a fraction of the time and time is money so it’s a big savings.” So said S2A’s co-founder and CEO Brian Kuzdas in the corporate video pitch posted below. “It is somewhat of our mission to make sure that we make housing affordable for everyone and S2A home is simply superior in long-term value to a traditional home and for a good reason. A Green Luxe home saves time money and energy while reflecting the ultimate level of sustainability.” The firm has a new “MegaFactory” plant under construction, to add to the production they already have. They ambitiously claim they will have dozens of building centers in the next 3 to 5 years.
In this video, they say they can provide “delivery” for a new customized home in 6-8 weeks, after permitting. While this is a modular builder, there are numerous possible takeaways for HUD Code and other prefab builders, as this MHProNews report and analysis will reveal.
“S2A Modular previews their Virtual Home Builder. This will allow you to build your dream home and virtually walk through your dream home,” per the firm’s YouTube post for the video below.
“The first electrically self-sustaining, custom luxury homes are changing the way the world understands residential buildings – creating a new standard in stylish design, construction speed, tailor-made features with high-end materials, “surplus energy income“ and smart-connected living. From constructing the latest in Tesla Powerwall-charged designer homes, full communities, commercial buildings to world-class hotels, S2A Modular’s stunning MegaFactory is a one-of-a-kind manufacturing center, producing impeccable structures that usher in a new era in better building and living. No more energy bills. Faster construction. Immediately higher home value compared with traditional “site-built” structures.”
Against that backdrop, the Waco (TX) Tribune’s Mike Copeland reported on August 9, 2021 that S2A Modular will build a “MegaFactory” “near the Amazon center” in that central Texas town that is located between Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin.
The Tribune said that “S2A Modular says on its website that a S2A Texas MegaFactory will arise at 1619 Exchange Parkway, with production beginning there in 2022. The site outlines the company’s prospects for rapid expansion, including the construction of 35 such factories in three to five years.” That location, as noted, is near the new Amazon fulfillment center that they described as nearing completion.
Per Copeland’s report, “Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that her industry recruitment team pursued the company, which bought 30 acres in Texas Central Park.”
“They make a different type of housing product, different from other manufactured housing, which is easy to see if you look at their website,” said Collins. “Companies such as Clayton and Jessup make great homes, but this company specializes in foundation-based homes. Walls and other major components are constructed off-site, at a production facility, and taken to the homesite. This speeds up the traditional process.”
MHProNews asked Copeland if either the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) or the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) followed up with him regarding his report. Collins has not replied to a similar inquiry addressed to her as of 12:25 PM ET.
Both Jessup and Clayton Homes have production centers in the Waco metro.
Per that report and/or their website and promotional materials, the S2A Modular company claims to be able to build 1000 home per year for each building center. They are planning to do Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in California.
Copeland’s Tribune report cited Waco businessman Bill Clifton, who represents the Waco Industrial Foundation. He said that S2A, “does not have a long track record, but does have ambitious plans.”
The Trib said that “Plans call for factories in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Miami, Charlotte, New York City and Boston. Northern California and Southwest Florida will get regional facilities.”
Such ambitious plans have been claimed before. A June 2018 report linked below said the following.
“Katerra employs more than 2,000 people with operational factories in Greater Phoenix, Arizona and Shanghai, China, as well as two more U.S. factories in development,” stated that firm’s media release to MHProNews. “After the merger, there will be 20 offices worldwide and 3,400 employees.”
Billion Dollar Startup Modular Builder, Using Robotics, Could Soon Rival Clayton Homes’ Total Sales
Katerra claims in the summer of 2018 would have had them rivaling the size of Clayton Homes.
But that was then. Per the Global Construction Review two week ago, “Bankrupt modular builder Katerra sells factories to rivals…Katerra Inc, the modular builder that was founded in 2015 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021, has sold its factories in California …”
Katerra isn’t alone.
Rappler said that “Revolution Precrafted settling obligations after complaints” with authorities in the Philippines. Once touted as a firm that would democratize upscale modular construction for the masses in countries around the world, Rappler said on May 17, 2021 that “Robbie Antonio’s embattled unicorn company Revolution Precrafted said it has reached “amicable resolutions” with its clients after suppliers…”
Will S2A Modular be different?
When their firm was asked a similar question late last week by MHProNews, they have as of 12:30 PM ET declined comment.
Whatever happens with S2A Modular, several takeaways from the above should be considered.
That noted, there are fascinating statements and insights that both manufactured and modular home builders should be pondering. Per the Tribune, these three bullets are quotes from their report linked here.
- S2A Modular and its president, John Rowland…[said] initial products including the Model A home, starting at $129 per square foot, and the GreenLuxHome, starting at $169 per square foot.”
- Waco commercial real estate agent Gregg Glime did not comment specifically about S2A, but did offer a perspective on economic development.
- “We do currently have about 180,000 square feet of speculative industrial space under construction directly across from Amazon,” said Glime.
- The article says building a factory requires about six months.
Another factory-based homebuilder has told MHProNews that about 6 months can work, so long as a building of adequate size and features already exists. While that $129 to $169 per square foot is far higher than HUD Code manufactured homes or many modulars, part of the question is will the energy savings be enough to offset some of those higher costs when compared to other modulars? Some buyers are apparently justifying that cost. But it is an open question if that will be true in 35 markets, unless, of course something like federal and/or state energy mandates force such higher costs for those who can afford them.
MHProNews Analysis, Additional Linked Information, and Commentary
In no particular order of importance:
- There is no indication at this time that MHI or the TMHA contacted either the Waco Chamber’s Collins.
- As noted, the Waco Tribune’s Mike Copeland was specific. “I was not contacted by either of these organizations [MHI or TMHA], to my knowledge.” That is just one more example of MHI not getting involved in an issue regarding manufactured housing.
- In this case, it happens to include prominent MHI member, Clayton Homes.
- But Clayton has on other occasions allowed problematic reports to occur without getting involved. One must keep in mind that so long as the Clayton Moat grows, Kevin Clayton has indicated that Warren Buffett is accepting of what some might think to be a problematic scenario.
- While surrogates such as OMHA’s Tim Williams, Elizabeth Birch J.D., Jim Ayotte, George Allen and others are willing to run interference for MHI’s apparent years of failure to get engaged on the very points that fall into their leadership’s statements and claimed mission, there are ample examples of MHI and their leaders saying one thing and doing another.
- That noted, the S2A Modular’s bold plan is an indication that others are looking at factory-built housing as a way to fulfill the needs for more affordable housing.
- Depending on the source, some 4 to 8 plus million homes are said to be needed in the U.S. at this time. Additionally, the population is growing.
- Plus, hundreds of thousands are pouring across the southern border. Like it or not, so long as the Biden regime does not stop or remove those border jumpers, housing will be needed.
Restated, the potential for factory builders is high.
The obstacles, at least on paper, are well known.
Two key laws needed to address those obstacles already exist. But will MHI do what is necessary to address the issues?
As MHProNews recently reported, an executive for a big MHI industry member thinks that while it is doable, he has his doubts that MHI will respond to the needs and opportunities.
The bottom line? It will take some group or operation(s) with the chutzpah and horsepower to make a potentially much brighter future come to pass.
As MHI award winner Marty Lavin says, pay more attention to what people do than what they say, and of course, follow the money trail. To learn more, see the linked and related reports. ##
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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