To help fill the affordable housing gap, a Buena Vista project is creating inventory — one giant box at a time
The nation’s fickle relationship with modular housing may be on the upswing
The Colorado Sun
BUENA VISTA — Just below the second-floor offices of Fading West Development on Main Street, kids play in a sun-dappled splash park, tourists duck in and out of shops and eateries while, to the west, the breathtaking Collegiate Peaks poke holes in the sky.
In a lush, green summer, the town’s marketing pitch — “Come for a visit, stay for a lifetime” — beckons with particular potency. But like many other rural and mountain towns, Buena Vista grapples with an affordable housing crunch that puts a crimp in the “stay for a lifetime” option.
“I’ve known a bunch of friends and younger people who had moved out here, done work in the summers and then had to move away because they couldn’t find housing,” says Charlie Chupp, a 50-year-old transplant from Florida and owner of Fading West. “I saw lots of businesses struggling to keep full-time employees, a lot of people who tried to put down roots here and make a living. But they couldn’t and had to move back to wherever they’d come from.”
Chupp, who moved to Buena Vista to manage a youth camp when he felt he needed a career change, now sees his path taking yet another turn that has made him a part — potentially a significant part — of the response to the region’s housing dilemma.
In a development called The Farm, Chupp’s Fading West has engineered an attainable alternative for working-class incomes that provides much-needed local inventory. And he has done it thanks largely to modular housing, those factory-built boxes shipped and assembled into homes with which America has had an on-again, off-again affair over the decades.
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