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Published September 1st, 2021
Local residents gather for ADU arrival
A crane lifts the ADU over the side fence into the backyard. Photos J. Wake

Neighbors on Stanley Boulevard behind Acalanes High School lined up on the sidewalk - some in lawn chairs, others standing - across from Georgette Bhathena's home as if part of a mini parade as they awaited the Aug. 19 arrival of the newest neighborhood addition: a 500-square-foot accessory dwelling unit.
The shrink wrapped one-bedroom unit, which was built at an off-site location in Utah, arrived on a flatbed truck on the quiet street. A large crane stood ready to lift the ADU into place on its foundation built in the homeowner's backyard.
Bhathena's 77-year-old mother, who is moving to Lafayette from Seattle, will be living in the unit. "It has an open floor plan, her own living room, a full kitchen, bedroom and bath," said Bhathena said, who noted that they still have a yard for her middle-schooler and third-grader to use, albeit smaller. "My mom is eager to be closer to family."
Bhathena had researched several ADU companies, in addition to looking at Rossmoor as an option, before deciding on Redwood City-based Abodu.
A small army of construction workers and traffic calming staff bustled around the home making final preparations for the delivery. "The unit includes high quality finishes, quartz countertops, really nice stainless steel appliances," said Scott Wilson, who is head of construction and manufacturing at Abodu.
The unit has vaulted ceilings with large Marvin windows to let in natural light. The units, which include a 340-square-foot studio, a 500-square-foot one-bedroom or a 610-square-foot two-bedroom, offer a Mini-split AC and heating system, a washer-dryer combo unit, a tiled shower with glass door that is ADA compliant, and premium cabinetry with soft-close hinges. Cost for a one-bedroom unit starts at $225,900. There are six different siding styles, and Bhathena said they plan to paint their house to match the deep blue siding of the unit.
Approximately two weeks prior to delivery, the foundation was poured in the backyard and site work was completed, including trenching and utility tie-in. "It was a pretty quick permitting process," said Bhathena, who started researching ADUs about six months ago.
Once the ADU arrived, the crew went to work measuring and re-measuring, while the counterweights were installed for the crane. Once all necessary precautions were taken and the unit was moved into position, the flyover installation began with the crane lifting the 500-square-foot structure over the side fence and onto the foundation.
"We try to time it so after the two-week construction we don't leave a hole in the ground," Wilson said. "There's a lot less chance of finding problems building this way than if you build on site."
Once the ADU has "landed" in the homeowner's backyard (they don't say "dropped") the Abodu Concierge Service ensures all external components such as electricity, water and plumbing are properly hooked up. Abodu coordinates and manages the final city inspection and goes through a final 100-point checklist before handing the homeowner the keys.
Some neighbors stayed glued to their seats, while others took peeks into the backyard after the lift-off took place. "My mom was sad to miss the drop," Bhathena said. "She'll be moving in September and the unit will be ready for her."

The shrink-wrapped ADU arrives on Stanley Boulevard.
Georgette Bhathena with dog, Rosie.

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