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                    Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

"One of the more promising products, being developed by Composite Building Structures, Ltd., Fort Myers, is a high-tech fiberglass composite that can be used to make the frame and shell of a house."

Wall Street Journal - Marketplace Section - 11/23/05  (See Article)

 

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Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

Today's Headlines / December 20, 2005

Real Estate Weekly

 

Manufacturer with novel homebuilding technology searches N.O., B.R. for plant

 

The future of housing is coming to New Orleans, and it may someday also land in the most notable futurist structure in East Baton Rouge; Buckminster Fuller's 1938 geodesic dome for Union Tank Car, located west of Zachary.

 

"Systems building," as the process is known, is mass-produced housing, but this is not about glorified doublewides.  The final product is a regular house.  Instead of conventional "stick-building" with milled lumber, systems-built houses are framed with large composite-fiber panels.  James Antonic, president and CEO of Composite Building Structures, explains, "We take the plans from the builder -- any shape, any design -- and two weeks later, we put up the walls and the roof, and then we leave."  The builder adds the interiors and facade.  The materials have withstood winds over 300 mph in tests, Antonic says.

 

CBS is finalizing a deal for land along New Orleans' Industrial Canal, Antonic says.  A $15 million production facility there could be operational by April.  Initial production would be about 175 houses per week, but that could be ramped up ten-fold with additional machinery.  Antonic's company thus far has built just 21 houses, in Palm Beach County, Fla.  Its patent on the process was only secured this past August, and Louisiana would be its first test on a mass-production scale.  But CBS is for real.  Homebuilding giant Centex has used its technology and even -- Antonic says -- tried to buy the company.  Louisiana Economic Development officials and several state senators support CBS' New Orleans efforts.

 

And at B.R.'s idled Bucky-dome?  Antonic toured it with state representatives.  He was intrigued, but says using it as a production facility would require about $2.5 million in prep work.  "We'd need a high profit margin to make that building work.  Right now, the name of the game is get in quick in New Orleans and start building housing for employees."  (Hal Cohen)

 

For more information about CBS Homes Florida and the technology used to build hurricane resistant homes, visit www.cbs-homes.com.

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