As a participant in our September 2005 Workshop, Kevin McGuckin studied the Monolithic construction process. He also inspected domes at and near our headquarters, including Monolithic’s rental facilities.
What he saw and learned convinced him to build a Monolithic Dome rental complex. He chose a site about a mile outside of Brenham, Texas, a town of 13,000 located 80 miles east of Austin, where Kevin lives and operates a wholesale nursery.
In Phase I, Kevin completed eight Monolithic Domes, each with a 20-foot diameter that encompasses a bathroom with shower, basin and toilet; a kitchen with stove, refrigerator, table and chairs; a furnished sleeping area.
When Kevin finished the first set of domes, he placed a three-week ad in the local paper and quickly rented the first six units at The Inn Place. He said, “We got enough calls to rent all we had available at the time.” He then began compiling a waiting list, which is what he thought would happen.
With the completion of all eight units in Phase I and a waiting list, Kevin began Phase II that called for another eight rental units.
Following the pattern
In much of what he did, Kevin simply followed the pattern established by Monolithic. He used plans provided by Monolithic, purchased furnishings like those used in Monolithic’s rentals and copied Monolithic’s rental contract.
“We have the same rules for renters that Monolithic has,” he said. “We just went through the rule page and changed a few names and numbers, but essentially it’s the same.”
As for the shell construction, Kevin had Monolithic send Mike South with a crew to train Kevin’s crew. “I wanted to make sure my people got better training than I could give them, and, during this project, I came down with a serious case of shingles,” he said. “So Mike and crew came down and did parts of it. Otherwise, we would have had to shut down and I didn’t want that.”
A one- or two-person unit at The Inn Place rents for $125/week, including utilities and internet. Incoming residents pay a $150 security deposit, plus the first and last week’s rent.
At this point, Kevin does not have an onsite manager. He said, "I’m doing it myself. We live just six miles away and we’re still in construction, so I’m there most of the time.
“When renters move in, I give them a little stack of deposit slips and tell them to deposit their rent fees in the bank,” Kevin added. “So they are doing direct deposit on their rents, and I go online to see who has and who hasn’t paid, and, no, there is no way they can do a withdrawal.”
The Inn Place now has plans for another expansion. Kevin said that with the completion of Phase I and Phase II, the Inn Place currently has 16 rented domes and a waiting list. He is now working on Phase III which will add another 16 units. These 20-foot diameter domes will be constructed by Kevin’s crew, under his supervision. They will rent for $125 per week, including water, electricity, trash pick-up and high-speed Internet.
See the Inn Place website for more information.
Note: Monolithic has a website Dome Living with rental information. It includes Resident Rules, Application, Floor Plan, Furniture Layouts, Information for Lenders and the article Why We Need Io-20 Residence Inns.