Meridian Physician Promotes Factory Built Homes

A Meridian physician wants to help cure a desperate need for housing in storm-struck Mississippi. Dr. Randy Nance is investing his time and money in a new company that will sell modular, factory built houses.

Such pre-built homes are one segment of the ongoing effort to build South Mississippi.

Workers guide a sizeable section of new home onto a block foundation in the parking lot of Prime Outlets. The demo home is the result of a post-Katrina medical visit by a doctor from Meridian.

"We saw up to 200 patients a day while we were here in the clinic. We immediately recognized the need for affordable housing. And that's how I got into this market," said Dr. Randy Nance.

Dr. Nance says factory built, modular homes are an affordable alternative to traditional on-site construction.

"The time factor is the big thing. A site built house may typically take anywhere from nine months to a year. Six months. We can do these in four to six weeks, generally speaking," he said.

The size of available pre-built homes ranges from cottage to mansion. Prices are 85 to 100 dollars a square foot, slightly lower than traditional construction.

Availabilty and time may be the biggest advantages.

"It's quicker. The quality is every bit as good, if not higher. And it can be done in less time for less money," said Steve Kerr, with All American Homes, the company that manufactures the houses.

A Meridian architect is on the doctor's team, ensuring some "southern style" plans are available.

"Lots of porches. Lots of overhangs. Sleeping porches. Arbors. You know, screen porches. Decks," said B.B. Archer.

The display home at Prime Outlets was built in Decatur, Indiana. But there may soon be a Mississippi connection. All American Homes is working on plans to build a manufacturing plant in Mississippi.

Those promoting these modular, factory built homes say it's just what the doctor ordered.

"We're just excited about being a part of the recovery," said Dr. Nance.