Home building company bringing jobs to Vallejo

December 1, 2011 10:07:03 PM PST
A company that promises to change the way homes are built is bringing dozens of jobs to a Bay Area city that needs them badly.

They are built much like any other home -- by skilled workers using hammers and power tools. But what's different about Blu Homes is where they're built -- in a factory.

Forget what you know about manufactured housing. This is something totally different.

"We figured out a building science system that lets us build big, open sun-filled space, fold it up like a piece of origami, ship it to a site and unfold it," Blu Homes President Bill Haney said.

One homeowner was so wowed by how a fully-built home can be unfolded onto its foundation she went to work for the company.

"The crane started to unfold the house and it was actually very cool to be able to see my kitchen cabinets there, my floors, my fireplace, everything was already in the house when it arrived," Milli Josifovska said.

Until now, the homes have been made in Massachusetts, but now, Blu is opening a new factory in a building on Vallejo's Mare Island that stood empty for decades.

Like a lot of the buildings on Mare Island, the Navy built the one Blu is taking over during World War II for a specific purpose -- it's long, tall and narrow -- perfect for building submarines. It turns out, that's also the perfect shape for building houses.

"The way we manufacture it is on these skates, so as the home's being constructed like an assembly line, it moves down the line from station to station," Manufacturing Director Mike Smith said.

The homes run from $100,000 up to half $500,000 and are built to be green, with recycled steel and often, solar panels on the roof.

With 60 jobs to start off, and maybe more to come, the mayor of struggling Vallejo says these workers will be building much more than homes.

"As we have come out of bankruptcy, we are in the process of rebuilding our city," Mayor Osby Davis said.

Load Comments