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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

THE SAD TALE OF GREENSTEEL MODULAR HOMES

GreenSteel modular homes of Carrabelle, FL had visions of building a lot of steel modular homes but the housing recession killed those dreams.  I was unfamiliar with them until I got an email from the Apalachicola/Carrabelle Times asking for information about our industry.
 

This story could happen to any factory out there in modular land.  Here is the first of  two articles from the newspaper that show the promise and demise of a good idea.

The Carrabelle commission voted to put GreenSteel on notice that they are in violation of their lease agreement.
On November 20, Hexaport Building Systems of Florida, owner of the GreenSteel factory in Carrabelle filed Chapter 11 to reorganize their debt in the face of a deteriorating market for new homes.
In 2007, the City of Carrabelle applied for and received a Community Development Grant to help pay for the project and leased the building and 21 acres of land to GreenSteel for $10 a year for 99 years.  Carrabelle invested about $1.5 million in infrastructure to support the project.
The GreenSteel factory was designed to manufacture low cost, durable, energy efficient homes. Due to poor market conditions, the plant shut down in December. Under the lease agreement with the city, GreenSteel should have 19 employees.
On January 7, the Carrabelle commission voted three to one to inform GreenSteel CEO Tony Attalla and Gulf State Bank that the city believes Hexaport is in violation of their grant agreement because, since they are not in operation, they do not currently employ the required number of workers. Commissioner Cal Allen cast the dissenting vote. Commissioner Richard Sands did not attend Thursday’s meeting.
Gulf State Community Bank, which has the largest claim against GreenSteel in the Chapter 11 filing, $1.5 Million, holds a “Right to Cure” lease agreement on the property.  read the entire article from the Times
 The next article tells about the aftermath of GreenSteel's closing.
A huge metal building that once held Carrabelle’s fondest economic hopes sits deserted after Hexaport Building Systems ended construction activities at the GreenSteel factory last year.
At the Jan. 6 meeting of the Carrabelle city commission, City Attorney Dan Hartman reported the factory, which sits on city-owned land at the end of John McInnis Road, appears to be abandoned, and that his contact with Tony Attalla, Hexaport’s CEO, has been “intermittent.”
The GreenSteel factory grounds are weedy, debris strewn and unkempt, and heavy steel grates have been removed from several of the drains in the parking area.
Steve Allen, a former Hexaport employee, told commissioners vandals had removed the grates and taken “a great deal of steel.” He said Attalla tried to secure the grates by parking trucks over them, but that strategy failed.
A drooping chain blocks the entry to the parking lot. Nearby, metal gates lie bent and flattened on a faded GreenSteel sign.  read this second article from the Times

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look for a lot more of these small modular factorys to close this year. Most of the green ones that opened just about the time the recession hit are running on empty.

Anonymous said...

Theres something more here as your numbers dont reflect the article. The lease is for 10 bucks a year , not 10 million, for 99 years, the town plowed in 1.5 million for 19 jobs and the bank put up 1.5 million and now everyone has disappeared. Why would a town no one has heard of, offer over 75,000/job to create jobs? Heck, I think Daffy Duck would take those terms

Anonymous said...

Florida is a mess right now with all the foreclosed homes on the market. If they had just started production a couple of years before the housing decline hit, they might still be around.

Anonymous said...

Was close to buying a Green Steel home in 2008. But couldn't find a builder to place the home on my lot at Port St. Joe for a reasonable price. Then, that 2-tiered Florida property tax to make new residents subsidize the old ones -- the last straw!