Chinese PreFabs, Modulars Are Selling in the USA, Here’s an Example


PatrickKennedyPanoramicInterestsChinaChineseModularPrefabsDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsThe Daily Business News on MHProNews has spotlighted Patrick Kennedy with Panoramic Interests before.


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Kennedy is keen on using modular/prefabs in multifamily projects to save time and costs. As thousands of factory-built housing professionals know, he’s not alone.

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What makes this project worthy of attention is where the units are being built.

The pre-fabricated units were built in China. The transoceanic shipping costs were less than the cost of trucking the units from docks in the Bay Area to Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, CA per ABC7.

One of the modular units being swung into place for the 4 story high project.

This is our second modular project and we’re trying to figure out a way to bring down the cost of building housing,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy’s photos show that the prefabricated units were stacked in just four days. “Imagine Lego blocks where a crane sets each rectangular box into place,” said Katie Utehs for the local media.

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Prefab [from China] really only works if you’re close to the ports because your trucking costs kill you as soon as you go far,” explained Kennedy to one of the onsite workers.

The stairwells and the hallways get finished on site, but the units proper are completely done at the factory,” explained Kennedy. As industry pros understand, the units are connect by local contractors, electricians, and plumbers, but the individual studios are shipped finished.


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This building has 22 units, and is on an expensive piece of property. There are 310 square feet, built to house two. ADA accessible units are on the first floor. There’s no parking or elevator for this four-story building, but there will be bike lockers, as it is geared toward student housing.

In a residential neighborhood that’s been here for more than 100 years there’s no sense of trying to fit in,” said Todd Darling, a less than happy Berkeley resident.

We’re never going to build our way out of a housing crisis there are more people that want to live in the Bay Area then there is room for,” said Darling, who reflects the NIMBYism that is driving housing costs in metro areas higher and higher.

This project was originally authorized in 2010 as a boutique hotel, but the developers later partnered with UC Berkeley in 2015 to make it graduate student housing.  That time line also reflects the implied holding costs for such developments.

This got approved under a much more sympathetic administration with Mayor Bates, when Mayor Bates was Mayor. In fact he lives around the corner,” Kennedy said.

The housing is scheduled for completion by September 1st. UC Berkeley set the rental rate for the furnished units at $2,180.


Industry Takeaways?

MHProNews has been reporting for years that foreign producers have targeted the U.S. for projects like this.

The Daily Business News receives periodic contacts from producers of housing, most commonly from Asian nations, which are aiming at doing single or multi-family housing in the U.S.

It is one of several undercurrents that manufactured and modular housing professionals and investors in the U.S. should keep in mind in navigating the crests and waves that are part of the factory-built housing industry’s reality.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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