WALPOLE, N.H. – The second phase of Walpole’s Abenaki Springs housing project was recently completed by developer Jack Franks, president of the Avenru Development Group, with a third phase moving forward.
New Hampshire’s economy is thriving, which ultimately increases the demand for housing, and this $10 million project has received praise from state officials for not only its affordability, but its energy-efficiency and innovative modular construction methods.
“The original plan was to construct 48 condominiums, but that plan changed when we realized the demand for apartments was much greater,” Jack Franks said. “I met with my ‘low-income housing tax credit’ attorney to discuss the development, and he said that it was one of the best plans he had seen in his 25 years of work. I am the first developer in New Hampshire housing history to use modular technology to construct affordable housing in the state.”
Most of the project’s construction was completed by using a modular housing method in which a manufacturer, in this case the Ritz-Craft Corp. based in Pennsylvania, builds the pieces on a assembly line and ships the components directly to the construction site.
The modular boxes are designed and engineered to be assembled onsite, so when they are set in place roughly 75% of the work is already complete, which allows the construction to be complete much faster, saves money on labor and interest on bank loans, and reduces the carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction methods.
“The modular development process we use is always evolving and is the result of many years of engineering and outside the box thinking,” Franks added. “Our partners at Ritz-Craft and our team have worked for years to develop a delivery system that allows us to construct housing three times as fast as conventional building methods. The end result is a product that is thermally superior to nearly all other construction applications and is considerably less expensive to build.”
The first phase of the Abenaki Springs building project, a 21-apartment unit located behind the Tractor Supply Co. on Route 12 in Walpole, opened in 2016 and was completed in just seven months.
The second phase of the project, a red 23,000-square-foot, 22-apartment complex that resembles a traditional barn, was constructed by Ingram Construction in Swanzey, N.H., between June and early November.
The Avenru Development Group will next move into the third and final phase of the Abenaki Springs project once the stabilization of phase two is complete, a third apartment complex, most likely featuring 22 apartment units.
“The demand in this region is overwhelming, as we currently have 18 of the 22 units in phase two already pre-leased,” Franks concluded. “We are striving to provide the most cost-efficient, community-based approach to all commercial and residential developments that we are a part of, ensuring a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for everyone involved.”