“The future of housing” takes shape at Buena Vista factory

A housing crisis solution with modular homes, philanthropy, unique lending and free land is threatened by local zoning and code regulations

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Fading West employee Matthew Nelson wraps a modular home with plastic covering before it is shipped out of the building facility Oct. 28 in Buena Vista.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

BUENA VISTA — Adam Rowlee is keeping close watch as a home takes shape in the first station at the Fading West modular home factory. 

Right now, it’s just a pair of 600-square-foot decks that will be floors for a new home owned by Pedro and Maria Jorge. The parents of three live and work in Telluride. Pedro works in a restaurant. Maria cleans houses and condos. The new home — three bedrooms and three baths with 1,216 square feet in Norwood’s pioneering Pinion Park neighborhood — means the Jorges, who came from Guatemala, can move out of the one-bedroom apartment they share with another family of five. 

The Jorge family’s story gives Rowlee a perspective that spans beyond his workstation and beyond his workday. Watching those floors move through the factory’s 18 stations and become a home for a working family in one of Colorado’s most expensive regions, he says, “is a success that has staying power.”

“When we see not just our day-to-day struggles but what the end result is, it’s more than success on the factory floor,” said Rowlee, Fading West’s first hourly employee, who bought a home with his wife in Buena Vista  seven years ago. “Since then, we’ve been reading about the housing crisis and this opportunity to come up to actually do something about it after years of discussion, it was like, ‘Cool. I want to be a part of this.’”

A lot of the employees at the Fading West factory share a similar mission that is bigger than their particular job or even the shrink-wrapped boxes that leave their factory. It’s a mission even bigger than delivering affordable, high-quality homes to families like the Jorges. The Fading West factory is creating a process to deliver thousands of affordable homes to communities across the West and The Colorado Sun is following the homes and the new owners until the Pinion Park project in Norwood is complete.


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