New Apartments in New Vrindaban to be Ready in Spring 2016

ISKCON New Vrindaban New Apartment 2016

Exterior Design of New Apartment Building.

By Madhava Smullen

Two new apartment buildings, consisting of three apartments each, are being erected next to New Vrindaban’s community garden and are expected to be ready to rent by spring 2016.

According to ISKCON New Vrindaban president Jaya Krsna Das, they will fulfill an immediate need for more accommodation especially during the peak summer season.

But the additional accommodation is also essential in helping along New Vrindaban’s current phase of growth — many devotees are now returning to the community or moving for the first time with their families.

“If somebody moves to New Vrindaban,” Jaya Krsna says, “They need a place to stay while they work on buying land and building their own house.”

The apartments aren’t just cheap temporary accommodation; ISKCON New Vrindaban is aiming for the highest construction quality within its budget.

Each of the two buildings will include a one-bedroom studio apartment in the basement, a two-bedroom on the first floor, and a three-bedroom on the second floor. They’ll acccommodate single people, smaller and larger families respectively. And they’ll each come with comparatively-sized, temperature-controlled storage spaces located in the basement.

The buildings are being constructed by PennKraft, a Western Pennsylvania company that prefabricates modular homes at its factory and then assembles them onsite. Quality is the same as with an onsite home, with the advantage that factory construction conserves materials and is thus more environmentally-friendly. It’s also faster, more efficient, and protected from the elements.

The foundations will be made with Superior Walls, a precast concrete system with insulated wall panels often used in green home construction. This will save energy, keep out the cold and make for an overall stronger structure.

“We’ll also use hardy board siding, which is very durable,” says construction manager Gopisa Das. “Then, in between the units, we’re using Roxul, a mineral wool that serves as both an insulator and a sound deadener.”

Meanwhile the buildings will each have insulated exterior doors to provide the best thermal barrier possible, a 50-year metal roof, and high-quality energy efficient windows that will keep the heat and cool in.

Apartment Layout for New Vrindabans Apartment

Three bedroom apartment layout.

Inside, each apartment will have its own individual electric heating and cooling system, which is the rental standard and a safer option than gas.

The interior doors will be solid core oak with red oak trim, the floors a very durable solid vinyl plank, and the kitchen cabinets solid maple. Each apartment will have LED lights, which consume up to 90% less power than regular incandescent bulbs, and its own individually-controlled heating system.

Care is being put into selecting the fixtures and appliances, too.

“We’re using Schlage locks and American Standard faucets, which you only see in commercial kitchens and last virtually forever,” says Gopisa. “For appliances, we’re installing the same fridge I have at home, a Samsung side-by-side stainless steel refrigerator with the freezer underneath and very high efficiency, along with matching Samsung electric stoves.”

Outside the buildings, there will be parking for residents. And to fit in with the New Vrindaban mood and lend a uniform look to the entire masterplan, the buildings’ entrances will feature ornate columns and the same Jagannath chakra that adorns the roof of Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra’s temple.

Despite the first-class construction, rent will range from only $550 to $850 depending on the size of the apartment, with water, waste water, and road maintenance included. “We’re aware of the concerns about pricing, and we wanted to make sure the accommodation was affordable to the devotees,” says Jaya Krsna.

Drive ways for NV apartment buildings

Outside driveways

The apartments will be constructed using a loan from Eco-Vrindaban. The plan is for both the interest and principal to go into an endowment fund for the long term care of cows in New Vrindaban.

The new apartments are the beginning of a thirty-year plan that includes thirty apartments in total, plus twenty townhouses and ten new cabins.

These additional buildings, as well a new access road connecting directly with the public road, will be constructed over the next thirty years as the need for them arises.

New Vrindaban ISKCON Townhouse Apartment Development

“This is the first time since the milk barn was erected near the temple in the 1990s that ISKCON New Vrindaban is constructing a new building,” says Jaya Krsna. “So it’s really a big step for our community as it moves into a new phase.”

Three things, according to Jaya Krsna, are needed for a community to grow: a school, jobs and accommodation.

“We have the Gopal’s Garden Homeschool Co-Op,” he says. “We have a number of very nice services to do for the temple, several devotee-run companies offering jobs, and a planned retreat center that will create additional jobs for devotees.

“Now we need more accommodation where devotees can live. Facilitating younger devotees with families moving to New Vrindaban in this way is an important step in our succession plan, and in the rejuvenation of the community itself.”

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