By John Burton
MONMOUTH BEACH – There is building in the borough after Sandy.
Gary and Maureen Koppele are moving ahead with building their new modular home on Wesley Street. Their contractor is using sections – built off-site – and assembled on the approximately half-acre property, for a project that had been in the works prior to the late October storm.
Gary Koppele said he and his wife are in the process of selling their Franklin Lakes home and opted for the borough and this building process for a number of reasons.
With their kids grown and out of the house they wanted to have something a little smaller. Monmouth Beach would allow them to live closer to where their children now live (one in Belmar and the other in Scotch Plains). “And in third respect, we’re in walking distance to the beach,” he said.
The approximately 6,000-square-foot home is being built in Liverpool, Pa., by Excel Homes, and is being transported to and constructed in Monmouth Beach by Zarrilli Homes, Brick. The two-story structure will be composed of five modular units with the completed home having five bedrooms, four full baths, 9½-foot ceilings and an exercise room, according to Anthony Zarrilli, president of Zarrilli Homes.
The project had been in the works for some time prior to Sandy coming ashore, causing damage along the coastline, especially in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
“Of course, we had concerns,” about moving forward with the project, Koppele said. However, he purchased the property about five years ago and the design has the house about 12 feet above sea level, giving him what he hopes will be ample protection from flooding with future storms.
Another motivating factor for building a modular home was cost. “At the end of the day it was less expensive than a ‘stick-built’ house,” he said, using the term for the traditional construction method.
While the owner would not talk price, Zarrilli said a 2,300- to 3,000-square-foot house costs in the range of $280,000 to $400,000.
Zarrilli, who has built a couple of dozen modular homes in Monmouth County, said his company is seeing a spike in interest in modular homes since the October storm. He is scheduled to construct 14 other new homes for people whose houses were destroyed in Lavallette, Ortley Beach, Brick, Manasquan, Spring Lake and Sea Girt.
As for the timeframe, “if you’re looking at a stick-built home you’re looking at a year,” to complete, Zarrilli said. For this project, “they’ll move in in 110 days.”
Mayor Susan Howard said, “The borough stands ready to help our residents through the process,” and has hired additional construction inspectors “to move forward as quickly as possible.”