Built in Poland and shipped in pieces, NYC’s biggest modular hotel project is 55 percent complete

January 9, 2017

The 20-story, 300-room project at 185 Bowery was constructed in Poland and shipped to New York in 210 pieces. Owned by Dutch hotel developer/operator Citizen M with Brack Capital Real Estate, the high-rise hotel at 185 Bowery is more than half done, reports the Wall Street Journal. It will be the largest permanent modular hotel project ever in NYC. Modular construction is more common in Europe; the developer already has nine hotels up and running and 14 in the works. They’ve used the technique of stacking sealed, factory-made units containing finished hotel rooms on the majority of those projects.

Your room is (almost) ready. Image: The Rinaldi Group

The technique allows for faster construction according to industry execs, meaning small, affordable-boutique hotels can be ready for check in earlier. Though it’s not necessarily cheaper, the technology saves time, improves quality control and reduces construction nuisances like traffic snarls and general disruption in the neighborhood (In the case of 185 Bowery the sight of the first module being hoisted into place via crane caused quite a disruption in the Lower East Side neighborhood, though, as dozens of phone cameras and a drone documented the event, according to Bowery Boogie).

The hotels’ compact rooms and standard designs lend themselves to the modular approach. CitizenM has tasked Polish company Polcom Modular with building the units for the Bowery hotel.

The Pod Brooklyn hotel across the East River in Williamsburg is also getting modular units from Polcom Modular. Developers of the $110 million, 249-room project said modular construction was about 15 percent cheaper than the on-site construction generally in use.




The Bowery project, which began in late November and is expected to take from three to four months to complete (about half the time traditional construction would have required), combines both traditional and modular construction techniques; according to Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, the technology is suited for affordable housing developments and smaller hotels, and can increase the use of local union labor for both: The unions have an agreement with Brooklyn-based Full Stack Modular, who purchased the assets of the modular manufacturing company formerly owned by developer Forest City Ratner Cos.

Jack Dooley, chief executive of SkyStone Group LLC, which is overseeing Polcom’s U.S. modular construction, said, “There are modular manufacturers in the states that are catching up. I think you will see expansion as more and more projects are completed and concepts are proven.” Just make sure your hotel pod is actually finished before you check in.

[Via WSJ]


Images courtesy of The Rinaldi Group.

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