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Champion Home Builders Uses Modular Homes to Help Bring Life Back To Once-Popular Detroit Neighborhood

The Detroit-area based company has been selected to build 36 homes for the city’s Penrose neighborhood in place of abandoned and downtrodden homes.


TROY, Mich., – July 11, 2013 – Champion Home Builders, Inc., the nation’s leading producer of modular and manufactured homes and commercial buildings, based in Troy, Michigan announced today that it has been selected to build 36 homes for Detroit’s Penrose neighborhood. Penrose, a historic neighborhood located at Seven Mile Road between Woodward Avenue and John R. Road has been plagued by plight and crime for decades. The addition of the Champion built homes will further the neighborhood's path to complete revitalization.

Now in its second phase, the initial 36 homes in the neighborhood were also Champion products. In addition, the company built the Penrose Art House, an art and community center dedicated to those who live in the neighborhood. The Art House provides the neighborhood with a positive, creative atmosphere and regularly hosts community meetings, events and art classes. Star Development Corp., the project’s Ann Arbor, Michigan-based owner and developer hopes to continue to grow the neighborhood past the initial two phases eventually flourishing with close to 300 homes.

“We deeply value projects that impact the community, like the redevelopment of Penrose, as we understand the cost impact our process can have in helping to make these projects financially viable,” said Jack Lawless, CEO, Champion Home Builders. “Through our modular building process, Champion is able to save time and labor costs throughout the building timeline. Without sacrificing quality, modular building takes approximately 50 percent the time of traditional building. Because our timeline is shorter than traditionally built homes, Star Development has the opportunity to begin moving families into the neighborhood much sooner than if the home were built onsite, thus giving the company an opportunity to not only collect rent earlier, but move on to other building projects quicker.”

Once the modules have been completed in one of Champion’s 30 North American factory locations, they are shipped to the home’s final location for installation and finish work. From delivery to completion, this process has followed approximately a 60-day timeline.

“We chose to partner with Champion based on the company’s deep understanding of high quality, cost effective building,” said Sam Thomas, CEO, Star Development Corp. “As the Penrose developer and property owner, knowing that Champion is able to build homes on such an abbreviated timeline is an invaluable asset to our company, given that we can then turn the redevelopment around much faster than if we were to build the homes onsite. It is an added benefit knowing that Champion is headquartered in Metro Detroit and invested in the restoration of Detroit. When neighborhoods are revitalized, commerce will increase and the region will strengthen. This is the ultimate goal of projects like Penrose.”

The phase two development of Penrose consists of 14 single family homes and 12 duplexes priced at an affordable housing rental rate. The homes are energy efficient and include appliances, vinyl double hung windows and Energy Star lighting. The single family houses range between 1,400 and 1,500 square feet, with two or three bedrooms. All the homes include basements and garages and emulate the neighborhood’s original turn of the century design.

“We worked closely with Champion and Star Development to ensure the new homes resembled the existing turn of the century style of the old neighborhood,” said Penrose Architect, Steven Flum. “We find it deeply gratifying to be part of a project of this caliber and to work with two companies that prioritize the needs of the neighborhood in conjunction with business goals.”

The neighborhood has a strong focus on Detroit’s up and coming urban farming initiative. Through the Penrose farms, organizers hope to pave the way for the rebirth of future neighborhoods in the city. Champion will also provide building fittings for the neighborhood’s farmhouse to ensure the turn of the century aesthetic transitions across all structures.

About Champion

Troy, Michigan-based Champion Home Builders, Inc. is a leading brand in off-site residential and commercial construction which, through its operating subsidiaries, manufactures buildings at 30 facilities in North America and the United Kingdom. Champion built homes are sold through a network of more than 1,000 builders, retailers, and developers located throughout North America. Champion Commercial Structures, a division of Champion, specializes in multifamily, commercial and industrial modular construction serving developers, builders and large value institutional clients. The Champion Commercial Family operates in the USA (Champion Commercial Structures), the UK (Caledonian Building Systems) and in Canada (Gibraltar Industries).

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