Modular Building Meets Altering Wants within the Pandemic

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Modular Construction Meets Changing Needs in the Pandemic

"We always missed people early on," said Gilbert Trudeau, president of the RCM Group, a modular construction company in Montreal, about quarantines. Still, he said, business hasn't slowed down; The company recently completed a modular Hampton Inn in Verona, New York.

Economy & Economy

Updated

Dec. 15, 2020, 4:17 p.m. ET

Before the pandemic, modular hotel construction grew rapidly thanks to major projects such as the 19-story CitizenM Bowery Hotel with $ 19 million that opened in Manhattan in 2018. Since 2015, Marriott has built modular structures in more than 70 hotels in North America.

"We can save six months of development time. Instead of 18 to 20 months, we will open in just under 12 months," said Eric Jacobs, Chief Development Officer of Marriott Select Brands in North America.

In 2019, Marriott began construction of a 26-story, 168-room Manhattan hotel that will have pre-built guest rooms that will be assembled and furnished off-site with linens, floors, and even toiletries. And when the blocked AC Hotel NoMad finally opens in 2021, it will be the largest modular hotel in the world.

As some sectors have slowed, the demand for multi-family and single-family homes, especially affordable options in these categories, has only increased.

The modular company Factory OS has received funding from large technology companies to use the modular structure to create affordable housing. The company raised $ 55 million on Autodesk, Facebook, Google, and others in November. Factory OS has created marketable homes, including corporate homes, for companies like Google.

Environmentally friendly materials such as solid wood are an important selling point for many modular construction projects. Mithun, an architectural firm based in Seattle, partnered with Forterra, a nonprofit conservation organization, to create affordable modular plywood housing for a community of East African immigrants in Tukwila, Wash. The project, which opens in 2022, will include around 100 apartments, a marketplace and common areas.

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