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The Reminder: Unique manufacturing company set to create new jobs

April 28, 2010

EAST LONGMEADOW -- Bringing in new jobs, a new business and strengthening partnerships in the green industry means East Longmeadow will soon be going "blu."

Jim Driscoll, chair of the East Longmeadow Green Committee, announced at the committee's meeting on April 20 that Blu Homes Inc. will soon be moving its manufacturing business into town as the first anchor in what will become a green technology park.

Founded in 2007, Blu Homes builds green homes suitable for a wide range of residential, commercial and institutional buyers. The company's breakthrough computer modeling, unique use of steel and wood and revolutionary folding technology make beautifully designed homes more economical to ship and quicker to set up than other modern, green homes.

According to the company's Web site, "Blu homes are healthy to live in and better for the environment because they are built with the highest green standards in mind and they are more energy efficient, quieter, better ventilated, create less waste, less destructive to the natural habitat and the open designs allow for spaces that feel larger than they are, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint."

Driscoll said welcoming Blu Homes to East Longmeadow strengthens the town's partnership with Springfield, which is considered an Economic Target Area (ETA), which is part of the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP), a tax incentive program designed to foster job creation and stimulate business growth throughout the Commonwealth.

"A large amount of the workforce in East Longmeadow companies is from Springfield," Driscoll said. "Having Blu Homes come in could eventually mean dozens of new jobs."

Companies participating in the EDIP may receive state and local tax incentives in exchange for job creation and private investment commitments. Driscoll said if all goes as planned and East Longmeadow becomes an ETA, it could also mean a reduction in property taxes for the town.

"We chose to move our manufacturing to East Longmeadow because the facility we found is ideal," Jacob Silber, vice president of finance for Blu Homes, told Reminder Publications. The company will be setting up shop at 330 Chestnut St. this week.

"We needed enough space for 30-ton cranes, since we are building homes, and something we could scale into [as the business grows]," he explained. Blu Homes is looking to occupy 80,000 square feet of space. Silber added that other considerations the company looked at before relocating its manufacturing business from Littleton, Mass., to East Longmeadow included being in an area with a talented workforce and a town within a reasonable distance from its headquarters in Waltham, Mass.

"We love the fact that we can keep manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts," Silber said. "We'll be starting pretty small in East Longmeadow, with between five and 10 workers, but we expect to be at 20 to 30 within a year and then we could even double that."

He explained that while there has been a lot of interest in Blu Homes, the company is still in an operational executive phase -- customers want the unique modular homes but the company doesn't have all the manufacturing abilities it needs yet.

Silber said it takes between six and eight weeks to build a Blu home, and that the company will be hosting an open house in late May so residents can see what work is being done.

"We're really excited to be [in East Longmeadow] and be part of a future green cluster," Silber said.

"We're aiming to make that property a green technology incubator," Driscoll explained. "By having smaller green companies come together there to share their resources under one umbrella, we hope that they grow and stay here."

The Green Committee's next meeting is scheduled for May 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Hearing Room. To learn more about Blu Homes, visit www.bluhomes.com.

April 26, 2010

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor