The Stack Shows How Modular Construction Could Solve NYC’s Housing Crisis

Now that New York City’s housing shortage has grown into a veritable crisis, real estate developers lend a helping hand by implementing innovative designs and cost effective construction technology in their multifamily projects.

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Now that New York City’s affordable housing shortage has achieved crisis status, some real estate developers are lending a helping hand by implementing innovative designs and cost effective construction technology in their multifamily projects.

The Stack

A seven-story apartment building located in Inwood, the northernmost section of Manhattan, opened in May this year as one of the city’s first modular residential buildings. Located at 4857 Broadway between Academy and 204th Streets, The Stack was developed by Jeffrey Brown and Kimberly Frank and designed by GLUCK+ as a prefabricated steel-and-concrete structure that includes 28 luxury rental apartments in a combination of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

The Stack—which was named the August 2014 Modular Building of the Month by the Modular Building Institute—is being marketed as housing for moderate income families, with 6 of the 28 apartments reserved for affordable housing. According to CBS New York, rents at the $13 million prefab property start at roughly $1,600 for studios, $2,200 for one-bedroom units, $2,630 for two-bedrooms and $3,700 for a three-bedroom apartment.

The 38,000-square-foot building is made up of 56 modules that were manufactured off site by DeLuxe Building Systems in Berwick, PA in early 2013, and then shipped to Manhattan where the foundation, basement and first floor had already been conventionally prepared. It took exactly 19 days, eight construction workers and one crane for the steel-framed models to be fit together like a large jigsaw puzzle, and a few months to install the mechanical systems and attach the façade panels.

In other words, the developers saved 6 to 8 months of construction time—the project was completed in half the time of the traditional on-site construction—and 15 to 20 percent of the approximately $7 million in construction costs. Described as a “quality and economically viable housing solution” by GLUCK+, The Stack is one of the first development projects that will help rebuild and fill the gaps in New York City’s outdated housing infrastructure.

Two similar projects are underway in New York as if to underline the city’s commitment to micro-housing: the nine-story My Micro NY building that is being constructed in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood and a 32-story apartment building called B2 in the massive Pacific Park Brooklyn (the former Atlantic Yards development). According to information from the New York City Department of Buildings, around 40 modular projects are waiting in line for review and approval.

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Rendering courtesy of GLUCK+