Construction underway on NYC's largest modular hotel

Dive Brief:

  • Construction has started on the 300-room citizenM modular hotel project in New York City, according to Curbed New York.
  • Crews are now installing the 210 prefabricated pods — shipped from Poland — that will make up the 20-story structure, the largest modular hotel in the city to date.
  • Project officials said that the choice to use the modular construction method has reduced the completion schedule by an estimated two to five months and resulted in 1,200 fewer trips that trucks must make on their way to the job site. The hotel is scheduled to open later this year.

Dive Insight:

In addition to reducing the impact on the surrounding area during construction, modular building is also a way to monitor for quality and consistency as prefabrication factories offer a controlled environment. In addition, a factory workforce allows for trade specialization that can result in a faster building process with fewer flaws. Another benefit is in the area of safety, as building processes that usually take place many stories in the air are moved to the factory floor.

A recent McKinsey report suggested that modular construction could also be used to alleviate the affordable housing crunch in California, a strategy for which prefab companies have been lobbying local governments. Experts predict that in 2017, all of the reasons that have pushed builders to turn to offsite manufacturing of building components will result in that industry's continued growth, despite construction's reputation for being a slow adopter of new technology and methods.

While citizenM might be the largest modular hotel project in New York City, another building in Brooklyn could very well be the tallest modular structure in the world. Forest City Ratner Cos. 32-story, 363-unit apartment high-rise opened in November. Forest City has since sold its modular business, which now operates as Full Stack Modular. Half of the building's units will be rented at market rates while the other half are reserved for those with low and moderate incomes.

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