Superstorm Sandy gives way to home building opportunities on the Northern Barrier Island as a company prepares to debut a brand new hurricane-fortified model home in Seaside Heights this Saturday.

Catalina Bunkhouse model, Westrum Homes
Catalina Bunkhouse model, Westrum Homes (Chris Gillen)

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is taking place for a prototype of a new generation of affordable hurricane-resistance homes. Westrum Development Company President Chris Gillen says their houses keep barrier island property ownership within financial reach of the demographics of people served prior to the storm.

"All the people who have come into our sales office all have a different story", according to Gillen. He says, "there's many primary homeowners who are here year round that have lost their homes or have a significantly damaged home and they're looking to rebuild new. There's many folks where it's their vacation home. They've had it for generations, fifty, sixty years and this is where they come every summer and there's actually people that are coming down now that realize that there's folks that want to sell their home and they can't rebuild and they want to sell their lot."

Gillen says the homes are built on pilings and raised approximately nine to ten feet above ground, tied down with hurricane straps, with impact resistant windows and shutters. "In learning a lesson from the storm, we've tried to build something that's not only new but that will last a lifetime, says Gillen."

The homes range in price from $109-thousand to $300-thousand dollars and Westrum gives a 90-day construction timeline from permit to delivery with the help of local contractors. Saying that it will take many years to repair and rebuild the Northern Barrier Island, Gillen says they're hoping to construct anywhere from 24 to 30 homes a year.

The ribbon cutting ceremony takes place at 410 Hiering Avenue in Seaside Heights at noon. Food, refreshments and entertainment will be provided. For more information call (732) 250-4160 or visit

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