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New O.B. houses dropped off by crane

Mixed reviews on three modular homes occupying one lot

Pre fab house 3
Pre fab house 3

In the morning on May 26, the empty dirt lot on Abbott at Voltaire was as it has been for decades. A few hours later, three homes occupied the lot where many locals have been parking their cars for as long as anyone can remember. The prefabricated houses had been dropped off by a crane.

"Each one-bedroom house is made up of three modules..."

Two architectural students at Woodbury University had turned their thesis into reality. This is the first project by Pedro Tavares, a native of Brazil who has lived in San Diego since 1987, and his partner, Shawn Benson, who used to live off Catalina Boulevard; they’re working on their master’s in real estate development.

"The modules went in yesterday a bit ahead of time,” said Tavares, “because there is a coastal construction law that states no work can be done in the right of way of a beach area between Memorial Day and Labor Day due to the crowds that come in….

"Each one-bedroom house is made up of three modules, and we created six parking spots that include motorized lifts for the cars inside the buildings….

"Most electrical and plumbing are finished at the factory and then they connect them all up to each other when they are onsite." Cosmetic work needs to be done to the outside to finish up.

Though they look like modified shipping containers, they’re not. They say each one costs about $140 per square foot and they’re 840 square feet each (that works out to a little more than $117,000). 

All plans were approved by the Ocean Beach Planning Board in 2014. The partners had no variance requests so they say that moved the project along quicker.

"Thanks to the O.B. Planning Board that asked the city to give us two hard curb ramps and a driveway as far west as possible so we won't be eliminating any street parking."

Benson and Tavares say they hope to have the units for sale within the next six to twelve months, but in the meantime, they intend to put them up for rent within the next 60 days. They were not able to tell me how much they would be renting for. "We might even have some friends move in there for awhile,” said Benson.

When I asked if they were able to tell me how much they paid for the 5000-square-foot lot, Benson said, "$635,000 and we don't have deep pockets, so we did have to get it financed. Five thousand square feet is actually substandard; most lots are usually 6000. This is a tricky lot. It's on a flood plain, there are parking requirements, and it's multi-family zoning. So, we wanted to show if you're intelligent about the design, you can make it work."

Many nearby residents stood and watched the cranes lower the houses onto the lot, shooting video and taking pictures. A long thread about it appeared on the popular Facebook group Ocean Beach, San Diego with some disgruntled about the project and several welcoming it into the area.

Steve Phon Huffman said, "Another pre fab monstrosity." While Jenn Avoledo said, "Love it!"

The partners created a Facebook page and a website for the project called Three on Abbott.

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Pre fab house 3
Pre fab house 3

In the morning on May 26, the empty dirt lot on Abbott at Voltaire was as it has been for decades. A few hours later, three homes occupied the lot where many locals have been parking their cars for as long as anyone can remember. The prefabricated houses had been dropped off by a crane.

"Each one-bedroom house is made up of three modules..."

Two architectural students at Woodbury University had turned their thesis into reality. This is the first project by Pedro Tavares, a native of Brazil who has lived in San Diego since 1987, and his partner, Shawn Benson, who used to live off Catalina Boulevard; they’re working on their master’s in real estate development.

"The modules went in yesterday a bit ahead of time,” said Tavares, “because there is a coastal construction law that states no work can be done in the right of way of a beach area between Memorial Day and Labor Day due to the crowds that come in….

"Each one-bedroom house is made up of three modules, and we created six parking spots that include motorized lifts for the cars inside the buildings….

"Most electrical and plumbing are finished at the factory and then they connect them all up to each other when they are onsite." Cosmetic work needs to be done to the outside to finish up.

Though they look like modified shipping containers, they’re not. They say each one costs about $140 per square foot and they’re 840 square feet each (that works out to a little more than $117,000). 

All plans were approved by the Ocean Beach Planning Board in 2014. The partners had no variance requests so they say that moved the project along quicker.

"Thanks to the O.B. Planning Board that asked the city to give us two hard curb ramps and a driveway as far west as possible so we won't be eliminating any street parking."

Benson and Tavares say they hope to have the units for sale within the next six to twelve months, but in the meantime, they intend to put them up for rent within the next 60 days. They were not able to tell me how much they would be renting for. "We might even have some friends move in there for awhile,” said Benson.

When I asked if they were able to tell me how much they paid for the 5000-square-foot lot, Benson said, "$635,000 and we don't have deep pockets, so we did have to get it financed. Five thousand square feet is actually substandard; most lots are usually 6000. This is a tricky lot. It's on a flood plain, there are parking requirements, and it's multi-family zoning. So, we wanted to show if you're intelligent about the design, you can make it work."

Many nearby residents stood and watched the cranes lower the houses onto the lot, shooting video and taking pictures. A long thread about it appeared on the popular Facebook group Ocean Beach, San Diego with some disgruntled about the project and several welcoming it into the area.

Steve Phon Huffman said, "Another pre fab monstrosity." While Jenn Avoledo said, "Love it!"

The partners created a Facebook page and a website for the project called Three on Abbott.

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Comments
4

Of course Jenn A would "Love it". Ever since she became involved in real estate, she's fine with selling OB to the highest bidder

June 1, 2016

If this were a McMansion being built, I might sympathize with your point. But it's sad when NIMBYs grasp at any excuse to deny housing for others in their neighborhood.

June 2, 2016

@SaneVoice-Well clearly you must know her well, to come to such a scientific conclusion, based on one aspect of her life. There's obviously NO other reason she'd think is great. You must be a detective. Congrats on cracking your first big case! Moron.

June 26, 2016

Great job Shawn. Had no Idea when you said you were going to build there that it'd take a day. Is there a sign up sheet somewhere?

June 14, 2016

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