By Barbra Murray
The use of modular construction continues to pick up steam in the U.S. hotel sector, and citizenM Bowery Hotel in Manhattan is among the latest evidence of the trend. With the Rinaldi Group aboard as general contractor, Brack Capital Real Estate and hotel chain citizenM Hotel just topped off the 300-key lodging destination, which will be the largest modular hotel in New York City.
Construction of the 100,000-square-foot citizenM commenced in 2015 at 189 Bowery. Stephen B. Jacobs Group designed the hotel, and as noted on the architecture firm’s website, the original concept for the property was not centered on modular construction; it was originally conceived as a conventional, poured-in-place concrete structure before the developer decided to go in a different direction.
Per the modular construction process, the hotel is being built with pre-engineered units produced in a factory—in this case, in Poland—and delivered to the development site. “For the Bowery project, modular construction has allowed for a significant reduction in the number of trips for delivery of materials through the congested streets of Manhattan, reducing construction time by several months,” Susan Furbay vice president for business development with HVS, noted in a recent report by the hospitality consulting services firm.
Not just a fad
A growing number of developers are going modular in the hospitality sector, and dollar signs have more than a little to do with the movement. “While modular construction is not necessarily a cost-saving initiative from a labor and materials standpoint, the cost savings result from the shortened project timeline,” per HVS’s new hotel development cost survey. “Modular hotel projects save approximately two to three months in total construction time, which can be as much as a 10 to 15 percent time savings.” Additionally, modular construction allows for a reduction in waste, labor, as well as construction site theft.
Among the hotel companies that are boosting their modular projects is Marriott International, which announced a comprehensive expansion of its modular construction initiative in North America in May 2017. The company plans to employ the fairly progressive construction method on approximately 13 percent of all development deals in the region this year, which would mark an industry first in North America.
With the last beam having been positioned atop the 20-story citizenM, Rinaldi is on track to complete construction of the lodging destination in early 2018.
Image via Google Street View