Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Katrina Cottage, Aisle Ten

The Katrina Cottage is going retail.

The "Lowe's Katrina Cottage" offerings range from a two-bedroom, 544-square-foot model to a three-bedroom, 936-square-foot house. The cottages will cost $45 to $55 per square foot to build, Lowe's estimates, meaning the smallest would run about $27,200 and the largest $46,800. Estimates do not include the cost of the foundation, heating and cooling, and labor.

"We're starting on the Gulf Coast, where the original idea came from, but as soon as we feel the logistics are worked out we could go national," says Ms. Cusato, whose website, www.cusatocottage.com, has received more than 7,000 inquiries since January. "We want to be sure that when we say it's available, we're 100 percent sure we can deliver."

If Lowe's is successful, it's likely other companies will offer their own designs. "There is such a huge opportunity, when you talk about the number of houses that need to be built in Mississippi and Louisiana, that I think a lot of folks are looking at this type of concept," says Dan Tresch, director of governmental affairs at James Hardy Building Products, which provides the siding for Cusato's cottages.

So what started as response to the inadequecies of FEMA housing is burgening into a new dwelling type.

The only question I have is can we use the ten items or less line?

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