A start up company says it plans to build a modular home factory near the Punta Gorda Airport and produce affordable homes by March.
Charlotte County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to award Darzac Modular Inc. up to $12,500 in property tax relief and up to $30,000 in employment incentives.
Darzac is based on the names of the two owners, construction contractor Matt Zacharias and strutural engineer Steve Darby. The company is currently based in Cape Coral.
Their plan is to build very small, affordable modular homes that will cost between $87,500 and $125,500, said Marketing Director Jennifer Castriotta.
“We were just up with Dave (Gammon) this morning, discussing another plan of action,” Castriotta said, referring to the county’s economic development director.
With the tax incentive financing in hand, the company expects to buy about five acres near the airport soon and begin constructing the manufacturing plant. They expect the facility to cost $1.25 million. The plan is to build Key West style homes that are either 594 or 814 square feet, Castriotta said.
The goal is to build affordable homes, which the county has been working on for years.
While some members of the county’s Affordable Housing Task Force have said single family homes are the only way to go, others have said the county needs higher density rental property to make a dent.
Castriotta said the company owners anticipate that a developer might build a set of these homes to create affordable housing. The owners are already working with veteran’s groups in Cape Coral, she said. Military veterans have access to special mortgages through federal programs.
The home options are one or two bedrooms with a shower style bathroom and a front porch, Key West style. Floors would be vinyl plank and the outer siding will be stucco flex. Roofs are metal. The building comes with wiring, plumbing, appliances and granite countertops, and walls for the foundation.
Left for the buyers is the cost of the lot, preparing the lot, electrical connections, building a septic system if there is no sewer line, drilling a well if there is no water line, or hooking up to water and sewer, among other things.
Castriotta said the company will help buyers decide what’s a good lot for a home.
The company expects to create 30 new jobs with an average wage of $45,853, which is 22% above the average county wage. They already have their skilled workers lined up, Castriotta said, from the owners’ other work in construction. The jobs include those in administration and 11 lower wage labor jobs.
The tax incentives are based on the county’s commitment of $1,000 for every $100,000 invested in capital, up to $12,500, payable after construction. The employment incentive is $1,000 per job, payable after one year of work.
“We’re hoping that we can start construction very soon,” Castriotta said.