Housing: Backyard homes from Abodu sprout in San Jose
From: San Jose Mercury News
SAN JOSE — A Bay Area company on Monday installed a prefabricated home in the backyard of a San Jose residence Monday, the first of two installations in that city this week in a push to help ease the region’s housing crisis.
Redwood City-based Abodu has fashioned prefabricated homes with a starting price of $189,000, offering a turnaround time of as little as 12 weeks to complete and install in the backyards of San Jose residences, the manufactured housing company said.
“San Jose homeowners are looking for fast and easy solutions to add livable space to their property,” said John Geary, chief executive officer with Adodu. The shortest turnaround time of 12 weeks is available only in San Jose. That’s due to San Jose’s brisk planning process for backyard units, Abodu said. Turnarounds are longer in other Bay Area cities, according to Abodu.
“This is a game-changer,” state Assemblymember Ash Kalra, a Democrat who represents portions of Santa Clara County, said Monday. “It’s a very impressive process. This is a one-stop shop.” One San Jose residence where Abodu has installed a backyard home — officially known as an accessory dwelling unit — is a house on South 12th Street in San Jose.
On Monday, a crane lifted the prefabricated home over the street and a house before the unit was nestled into the backyard of the home.
“Pre-fabricated accessory dwelling units or ADU’s are an essential tool for building housing for those who need it quickly,” San Jose City Councilman Raul Peralez said. The installations in San Jose this week involve the latest Abodu product, a studio that totals 340 square feet, the company said.
Abodu said it has installed in San Jose several one-bedroom one-bath ADUs with a size of 500 square feet.
“I’m glad to see homeowners working with Abodu are taking advantage of San Jose’s ADU program and increasing our housing stock,” Councilman Peralez said. In 2018, the city of San Jose issued 190 permits for accessory dwelling units. In 2019, the city issued 400 such permits, an increase of about 111%, or more than double.
“Abodu provides homeowners a simple and enjoyable experience by handling all aspects of owning an accessory home,” said Tony Arreola, a South Bay developer and an investor in Abodu. In March 2020, Abodu received around of seed capital investment totaling $3.5 million.
“We are using the seed funding to hire more staff and expand to more cities in the Bay Area,” Geary said John Geary, Abodu chief executive officer (L) and state Assemblymember Ash Kalra (R), and an unidentified Adobu employee (C), stand inside a prefabricated home that has been installed in the backyard of a San Jose home on South 12th Street. A Bay Area company on Monday installed a prefabricated home in the backyard of a San Jose residence Monday, the first of two installations in that city this week in a push to help ease the region’s housing crisis.
The homes typically arrive on a truck and are installed using a mobile crane.
“Abodu provides one of the fastest methods available to add livable space, empowered by San Jose’s pre-approved ADU program,” Abodu CEO Geary said. On Monday, within a few minutes, a crane hoisted the accessory dwelling unit over South 12th Street while the homeowners, neighborhors, Geary, and Assemblymember Kalra watched, guided it over a residence, and then lowered it gently into the backyard of the residence.
Afterwards, the family living in the primary house walked through the studio unit, which will have a shared yard with the main residence.
Subsequently, Kalra, Geary, and others walked through the studio.
“These kinds of units are extremely important and are very much needed to address the housing crisis,” Kalra. said. “It’s especially important for a city like San Jose that has sprawled out into many neighborhoods.” It’s simply not possible to develop high-density residential towers in every part of a big city such as San Jose, the assemblymember said.
“This is literally infill housing,” Kalra said. “With the high cost of living, it is an opportunity for families to stay together. It’s a way for caregivers to live near the people they are helping.”
"How California Set Off a Backyard Apartment Boom"
With a state law easing restrictions on accessory dwelling units, granny flats are proliferating in L.A. and other cities — and pre-fab options may make these tiny houses even more common.