Austin-based startup Icon Technology Inc. has teamed up with Lennar Corp. for a 100-home neighborhood in Georgetown. This rendering shows a massive 3D printer next to a traditional bricks-and-sticks build. ICON TECHNOLOGY INC.

Austin Business Journal reports, "an Austin-based 3D-printed housing startup and one of the country's largest homebuilders have identified the location of their long-anticipated 100-home community in the region's suburbs.

Icon Technology Inc. and Lennar Home Corp. on Nov. 10 revealed that the startup's first foray into the volume homebuilding game will be the Genesis Collection at the Wolf Ranch master-planned community west of I-35 along U.S. Highway 29 in Georgetown, about 30 miles north of Austin. Construction is underway and reservations will begin next year, with prices expected to start in the mid-$400,000s.

"For the first time in the history of the world, what we’re witnessing here is a fleet of robots building an entire community of homes. And not just any homes, homes that are better in every way… better design, higher strength, higher energy performance and comfort, and increased resiliency," Icon co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard said in a statement. "In the future, I believe robots and drones will build entire neighborhoods, towns, and cities, and we’ll look back at Lennar’s Wolf Ranch community as the place where robotic construction at scale began. We still have a long way to go, but I believe this marks a very exciting and hopeful turn in the way we address housing issues in the world."

Representatives from Icon said the homes in Wolf Ranch by Hillwood Communities, a subsidiary of Dallas-based The Perot Company, will blend contemporary Texas ranch-style aesthetics, and feature elevated architectural and energy-efficient design that promote resiliency and sustainability. International architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, or BIG, is co-designing each home in the community.

The neighborhood will offer eight floor plans with 24 elevations ranging from 1,574 to 2,112 square feet. The homes will offer three-to-four bedrooms and two-to-three baths. All homes are solar powered and include Ring doorbells and security packages, among other amenities.

Development will use Icon’s proprietary “Vulcan” construction machine that can produce houses up to 3,000 square feet. According to the company, the materials are believed to be longer-lasting and more weather-resistant than traditional homebuilding materials.

"We are very pleased to partner with ICON and BIG in building a first-of-its-kind, printed home community that combines innovative designs with sustainable features at an affordable price," Lennar Executive Chairman Stuart Miller said in a statement. "Given the housing shortage that persists across the country, it has never been more important to innovate in order to find new methods of construction that will enable greater design flexibility and greater production at affordable prices."

The announcement marks another milestone in Icon's broad portfolio since its 2017 inception. Icon's first for-sale 3D-printed homes hit the market in East Austin last year. It has also built 3D-printed homes for impoverished families in Mexico with nonprofit partner New Story. The company received a U.S. Air Force contract in 2020 to develop technology for building structures on the moon. Icon recently was listed under Time Magazine's list of Best Inventions of 2022.

Back in October, the company announced its intention to build a community with Florida-based Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN). That agreement was seen as pivotal because it offered the first demonstration of Icon's technology in a large-scale community in the United States, in partnership with a traditional volume builder. It should help demonstrate whether 3D homebuilding can significantly impact communities such as Austin with major housing shortages.

Lennar was among the investors in Icon's $207 million series B funding round last year. The round, one of the biggest fundings for an Austin-based company in 2021, was led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners.

It also marked a deal one of the region's largest homebuilders. Lennar ranked No. 2 among top-selling volume homebuilders in the region in 2021, according to research from Austin Business Journal. The company sold nearly $628 million worth of homes in the Austin area last year.

The neighborhood means hundreds more residences for a region starving for housing. Georgetown is among the fastest-growing cities in the Austin metro, with a population of 75,420 in 2021 — up from 47,400 in 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

There is recent evidence that the five-county Austin metro's white-hot housing market of the past few years is finally starting to cool off. Metro housing inventory reached 3.1 months in September, the highest level since July 2017, but still well below the six-month mark that is considered healthy.

"We are excited to welcome Lennar and ICON's cutting-edge home construction technology to Georgetown," Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said in a statement. "The Georgetown community prides itself on honoring our past and innovating for our future, and we are eager to see the future being built right here.""


Source: Austin Business Journal

Written by: Justin Sayers

Published: November 11, 2022

Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on


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