There’s an opportunity, right now, for the Outer Banks to secure the first new commercially-manufactured Futuro house in 50 years, and for that UFO to land directly in Frisco. Will the project garner community support?
The loss of the Frisco Futuro House on October 19, (also known as the Frisco UFO), was a hard blow for an island community that has had more than its fair share of bad luck.
Frisco has suffered a wave of losses when it comes to local landmarks, starting with the 2008 closure of the Oceans Edge Golf Course, and culminating with the removal of the Frisco Pier, which was finalized in April 2019. Frisco was also hit hard by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, with widespread flooding and subsequent damage that is still quietly being fixed, three years after the storm.
But unlike the Frisco Pier, (which had been closed and crumbling for years), or the golf course, (a privately-owned business that was marginally on the public’s radar), the Frisco UFO is different, because the loss was sudden, surprising, and completely unplanned.
The fire at the Futuro house was reported to the Frisco Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) on the night of October 19, and by the morning, the internet was flooded with photos from the Frisco VFD and photographer Daniel Pullen, who were both at the scene.
The outpouring of grief was substantial, despite the fact that the uproar – at its bare bones – was for a prefabricated structure that could have been purchased by anyone with $12,000 to spend, back when the Futuro house was first introduced in the late 1960s.
But the Outer Banks’ own UFO was tied with generations of memories for millions of visitors, and many considered this small site an inherent part of their vacation experience.
There’s a potential silver lining on the horizon, however, and it all stems from the Frisco UFO’s status as a landmark, a brand new and innovative take on the “tiny home,” and a potential partnership with serendipitous timing.
A brief history of the Frisco Futuro House
The Frisco UFO was one of the island’s most famous roadside attractions, and the structure was highlighted in a number of international news segments and magazines over the years.
The original “Futuro House,” was a prefabricated home designed in the 1960s by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, and the Frisco version was almost one-of-kind, as only 100 of these flying-saucer-like homes were built during the late 1960s and 1970s. Today, less than 20 are left in the United States, and roughly 60 are left in the world.
The Frisco Futuro House was originally bought in 1972 by a couple who used it as a beach retreat along the oceanfront in Hatteras village.
Starting in the 1980s, the UFO was sold and moved to several Frisco locations, (including the Scotch Bonnet Marina), until it was relocated to its current site at 52186 Morriss Lane in the mid-1990s.
In the past four decades, the structure has been leased as a gift shop, a newspaper office, and even an “Out of this World” hotdog stand, but in the past few years, the Frisco UFO cemented its reputation as an interstellar photo backdrop, and the spot where you may have a close encounter of the third kind, thanks to an in-house alien greeter.
Resident alien Leroy Reynolds, who has intricate ties to the site as the “little green man” who jumps out of the UFO to the delight of visitors, arguably suffered the loss of the Frisco UFO the hardest.
Though the property where the UFO is docked is owned by Hatteras Island resident Jim Bagwell, it’s Reynolds who maintains the site and completes the out-of-this-world experience.
“I’ve been really depressed since the fire,” said Reynolds. “I was out of sorts on Halloween. People were coming up and telling me stories of their memories, which was wonderful, but there were also children crying because of the way [the UFO] looks now, and that was heartbreaking.”
“It’s like losing your best friend,” he added. “I was down there every day, just having fun and making people laugh. That’s all it was ever really about.”
The fire, and the somewhat-unknown cause
The fire at the UFO was reported to the Frisco VFD at 10:06 p.m. on October 19, and was extinguished by the Frisco and Buxton VFDs within several hours. There were no injuries, as the site was unoccupied at the time, but Reynolds believes that the fire was not an accidental incident.
“There was no electrical hook-up [at the UFO] at the time,” said Reynolds. “So unless there was a mouse that was playing with matches, this fire was purposely set.”
“Either somebody started it, or a small animal figured out how to start a fire.”
Regardless of what ignited the fire, the results were heartbreaking.
Within 24 hours of the fire, there were thousands of social media comments and dozens of national news stories on the incident, simply because the Frisco UFO was recognized by millions of Outer Banks vacationers.
From snapshots of the original hotdog stand at the edge of the Scotch Bonnet Marina, to music videos that featured Reynolds as an invading background artist, the loss of the UFO was truly felt in Frisco village, and for hundreds of miles beyond.
The wave of the future, and the serendipitous silver lining
Futuro houses have always been a relic of the past, and there have been no new UFO houses that have been mass-produced for the past 50 years… Until now.
Anthony Corpora of the recently-established Futuro Houses is changing the game, and is helping to launch the first mass production of Futuro houses as one of three concurrent initiatives that will take the Ohio-based US Lighting Group to a new level of ingenuity.
The umbrella US Lighting Group has expanded its reach to develop three new companies that are not reliant on wood-based materials: namely, power boats, tiny homes, and the long-defunct Futuro homes.
The key material for all of these projects is durable fiberglass, which essentially started a trail of breadcrumbs that allowed the company to embark on the re-introduction of the Futuro house.
“We got into extensive fiberglass research, and we stumbled upon Futuro homes along the way,” said Corpora. “And then, there was a guy on CNN Business who said ‘You could never have another Futuro home again,’ and I thought, ‘Don’t say that to our engineering team, because they’ll find the solution…’ and they definitely did.”
The new prototype of the mass-produced Futuro home is in process, and is expected to be unveiled with a base price tag of $179,500 in the next few weeks.
This new model will hold all the aesthetic characteristics of the original, but will also have some benefits to allow the new UFOs to prosper on earth for the foreseeable future.
For one thing, the rot and decay associated with the wood components of the original 1960s and 1970s UFOs will be obliterated, due to the use of solely composite materials.
“Composites have come a long way since the 60s and 70s,” said Corpora. “We’re using zero wood in the construction – the original [Futuro houses] had a lot of wood – so it will be strong, and it’s similar to how you would build an airplane.”
An additional benefit is that the new UFOs will be slightly larger, but will still come in pieces that will be easy to put together as a shell roadside attraction, (like the former Frisco UFO), or even as a fully-functioning living space.
“We made it different, and we re-engineered it to be a little bit bigger,” said Corpora. “But this thing was designed to perfection, so it will be a perfect ellipse, and the pieces will be interlocked.”
“You can put the Futuro house together with your Sears Craftsmen tools, and in a good weekend, you’ll be able to set it up fully.”
There has been a lot of global interest since the new Futuro homes hit the public radar.
Corpora reported that they have been getting requests from all over the world to have a UFO delivered to a specified hometown, even weeks before the prototype is available for public viewing, and months before the first model hits the market.
It’s not clear how many new Futuro houses will be constructed, but there is certainly a global customer base for a new invasion of UFOs.
“Demand drives production, and we’re getting interest from all over the world,” said Corpora. The UFO is a niche house for a niche market, but even so, there is a lot of hype… People are loyal to the UFO house, and there’s a following for it.”
The new Futuro house is definitely making waves, and Corpora said that he has also had multiple requests from folks who want to purchase the prototype and/or the very first new and official Futuro house in 50 years.
These requests stem from all corners of the globe, and interest is steadily growing as news of the Futuro homes’ resurgence starts to spread, and the launch of the new Futuro house draws closer, with an expected release in early 2023.
But what if the first new Futuro house in 50 years lands in Frisco?
This new endeavor by Futuro Houses could result in 100 new UFO-style residences, (like the original production’s output), 1,000 new residences, or an untold amount, depending on the eventual demand.
But there’s a solid opening, right now, for the Outer Banks to secure the first new commercially-manufactured Futuro house in 50 years, and for that UFO to land directly in Frisco where an original spaceship was recently lost.
Corpora stated in a recent interview that the idea of having the first new UFO land in Frisco was a tempting prospect, and would be a great way to re-introduce the Futuro home to the world, while doing a bit of good on a local scale.
“We would love the opportunity to bring something back that was taken away beyond your control, and to replace something you love,” said Corpora. “The Futuro house has a following like no other, and we respect that, and would love to make you another.”
Resident alien Leroy Reynolds was also thrilled at the prospect of having a new outer-home away from home. “I would be blown away,” he said. “I would be overwhelmed, and I would be Frisco’s alien forever, which is a role I’ve always loved.”
The cost to purchase a yet-to-be-built Futuro house is $179,500, which is a difficult goalline considering Frisco’s other worthy and ongoing projects, (such as the Frisco-Buxton pathway), but the purchase of the first new UFO is a feasible prospect if the community steps in.
The seeds for a new UFO landing are there. All Frisco needs to claim its title as the “Home of the first new UFO constructed in 50 years” is money, and subsequent community support.
“We’re going to make you one of our Futuro houses, and give your village a second wind,” said Corpora. “You have to have a humanistic approach to what you do in business. You just have to… And we would love to bring back something that you love.”
For more information:
For more info on the next generation of Futuro homes, check out the company’s website, which includes schematics, photos of the production, and much more, at https://www.futurohouses.com/.