If Ratner Quells Labor, Finds Financing, Modular Housing will Rise

Curbed reports from Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards that Forest City Ratner is finalizing plans to build the world’s largest modular housing unit, divided between affordable rental housing and market rate rentals. The 32-story tower, the first of three residential edifices built in this development that will include a professional basketball arena and retail, will be comprised of 930 steel modules supported by steel braced frames. The 350 housing units will include 130 studio apartments, 180 one-bedrooms, and 40 two-bedroom units. A year-long study determined modular construction will cost 15-20 percent less than traditional building, waste will be reduced by 70-90 percent, energy consumption will be reduced up to 67 percent, and the project will weigh half as much. Addressing concerns from the (strong) NYC labor unions, Ratner says 190 workers, on-site and in-factory, will be needed to complete the building, far fewer than the 17,000 number of workers once bandied about. Needing 70,000-100,000 square feet to build the modules, Ratner is eyeing sites in Brooklyn and Queens. Providing all the other pieces fall into place, construction should start in early 2012 and be completed in 18 months.

(Graphic credit: Forest City Ratner/SHoP Architects)

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