Unique new-build pops up on Florida Avenue


By Zach Chouteau

Every house needs a strong foundation, and the unique new-build home quickly popping up at 1025 Florida Ave. in Richmond certainly has one.

In this instance, we’re referring to the Richmond Community Foundation (RCF), which hosted a tour and demonstration of the house’s framework on Tuesday, Aug. 8, that brought Mayor Tom Butt, RCF Executive Director Jim Becker and others for a mini-press-conference and walk-through.

The ‘Rich Life’ dropped by as well, and was happy to hear that the new house is part of an ambitious program currently replacing 17 blighted homes across the city with brand-new domiciles that can be built in relatively quick and affordable fashion. As the homes work with pre-engineered components delivered in complete sets, they can be constructed in days rather than months, yet are profoundly durable as well. Another plus is that the homes are constructed using ‘green’ materials, made by the GigaCrete company.

It’s all part of the innovative Richmond Housing Renovation Program that launched in 2015 and uses zero-interest “social impact bonds” that are issued by the City of Richmond and purchased by Mechanics Bank—which has won two awards for their participation in the program.  Another affordable home is currently being built at 163 South 37th St., and families taking part in SparkPoint Contra Costa’s First Time Homebuyer’s Program will be given top priority at purchasing the homes in this endeavor.

“Improving the one blighted house in a community impacts the entire neighborhood,” remarked Rauly Butler, executive vice president for Mechanics Bank. “I’m so proud to see Richmond do this, and really think this program will put Richmond in the history books.”

Community advocate Gloria Scoggins also spoke at the press conference, lauding the RCF for helping make the “home ownership dream” come true for numerous city residents and for using 100 percent minority-owned contractors to construct the properties.