Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Gilmartin: Forest City "besieged" with interest from other developers considering modular construction

Real Estate Weekly reported yesterday, in Developers lining up to do business with module makers:
FCS Modular, The joint venture-child of Forest City Ratner and Skanska Construction, is up and running in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, producing pre-fabricated building modules for the first residential tower at the Atlantic Yards site in Downtown Brooklyn.
But the new company has already attracted interest from other developers considering modular construction for their own projects, MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner, told a luncheon meeting of the Association of Real Estate Women Tuesday.
“Besieged isn’t an overstatement,” she said.
...And while FCS Modular is intended to support more buildings than the 15 towers planned for Atlantic Yards, Gilmartin said, B2 gets priority and will serve as an advertisement for the new building technology.
“We will take competitor business into the factory … but right now the quest is to get this building up,” Gilmartin said. Forest City estimates that the construction-cost saving of modular construction is between 15 and 20 percent of the cost of traditional construction.
I don't doubt they're besieged with interest, given the potential for savings, though signing deals is another question. I suspect potential new customers want to see how the new B2 tower shakes out.

Also, given the challenges in delivering modules from the Navy Yard to the Atlantic Yards site in Prospect Heights, I suspect that developers who find modular more attractive have projects in a reasonably close orbit of the Navy Yard.

Last year, Forest City Ratner Chairman Bruce Ratner told Engineering News-Record that "his plan is to sell turnkey modular high-rises to other developers and landowners."

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