The homes in the 50-acre Turtle Creek subdivision in Gulfport, Miss., are being promoted as built with “poured 5,000-psi concrete and polystyrene to produce buildings capable of withstanding Category 5 hurricane winds.” Originally, Royal Concrete Concepts (RCC) reached an agreement to sell 248 of its concrete modular homes through its Biloxi, Miss.-based distributor, Concrete Building Concepts, for the new development. However, after completing four modular homes the subdivision evolved to using precast concrete wall panels from RCC, West Palm Beach, Fla.
According to Clay Gutierrez of Concrete Building Concepts, “The wall homes are a better fit for [Turtle Creek] because the system is less expensive and allows more flexibility for style and meeting market requirements. For example, we were having to sell the modular homes for $130 a square foot and [they] did not have garages, and had limited storage and no attic space. We are actually competing with wood construction at [Turtle Creek] from $90 to $110 a square foot including the lot. The mods are basically over built for the application at this location and market preferences are more easily accommodated with the hybrid wall system.”
The wall system is manufactured at RCC’s Okeechobee, Fla., plant and delivered by truck to Gulfport. The construction process of a wall system house consists of pouring a slab at grade, erecting the walls and strapping an engineered roof truss system to the top of the walls. The roof truss system satisfies the uplift requirement needed for a MS semi-wind resistive rating. Compared to the modular units that were set up and completed in seven to 10 days, the wall system homes take about 60 to 90 days.
Funding for the project was provided by the Hurricane Katrina Community Development Block Grant. Homes in the Turtle Creek subdivision range from the mid $120s to $200,000, and have a more traditional look with 6/12 pitched roofs, garages, and lots of curb appeal. By the end of June, there were a total of 27 homes built or in the process of being built in the Turtle Creek Subdivision.