Another hit to affordable housing: Skender’s modular construction firm closes

Skender Manufacturing opened in May 2019, with Sterling Bay agreeing to build dozens of prefab apartments across Chicago

TRD CHICAGO /
Sep.September 25, 2020 10:21 AM
Skender Manufacturing CEO Mark Skender

Skender Manufacturing CEO Mark Skender

In May 2019, Skender started a modular construction firm, which Sterling Bay said it would use to build dozens of affordable apartment buildings in vacant lots across Chicago.

Less than 18 months later, Skender Manufacturing has shut down, unable to raise enough funds for the venture, according to Crain’s. The firm closed its factory on the Southwest Side.

“Really what it came down to was raising capital,” Skender Manufacturing CEO Mark Skender told Crain’s. “Obviously, it was a tough decision, but I still believe in the business model. This is what the housing industry needs.”

The Sterling Bay deal also never happened. That’s despite the fact that the Lincoln Yards developer announced in May 2019 it had a contract with Skender to start production to build 10 nearly identical three-flats on the West Side.

The same month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot touted Skender Manufacturing at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new factory.

“The addition of new modular units will improve access to sustainable housing, prevent homelessness, and ensure that as Chicago grows all of our neighbors can afford to grow too,” she said at the time.

Chicago’s efforts to build and promote affordable housing have yielded little results, according to a citywide task force finding this month. The report found that an ordinance requiring developers to build more housing for low- and moderate-income households has created just 1,000 homes in 13 years, while the city’s affordable housing shortfall has surged to nearly 120,000 homes.

Skender construction, the parent company, has also had a tough time, forced to cut jobs because of the economic impact from the pandemic. The firm said it has bounced back, and was on track to post revenue of about $400 million this year, down just 3 percent from 2019, Crain’s reported. [Crain’s] — Sasha Jones


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a restaurant in downtown Chicago (Getty)

Chicago to ease capacity limits, open bars

Chicago to ease capacity limits, open bars
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Getty; iStock)

Chicago affordable housing program has failed, report finds

Chicago affordable housing program has failed, report finds
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Getty, iStock)

Developers wanted: Chicago looks to transform struggling commercial districts

Developers wanted: Chicago looks to transform struggling commercial districts
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and boarded up stores along Michigan Avenue (Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, and Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago’s $100M small biz loan fund has only distributed $17M

Chicago’s $100M small biz loan fund has only distributed $17M
Short-term rentals in Chicago dipped in June, but spiked in  Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (left) and (right) Saugatuck, Michigan (iStock)

Short-term rentals soar outside Chicago…way outside

Short-term rentals soar outside Chicago…way outside
Chicago will direct $33 million to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction and foreclosure (iStock)

Chicago ups ante to help residents avoid eviction, foreclosure

Chicago ups ante to help residents avoid eviction, foreclosure
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Getty)

Lightfoot proposes stricter rules on short-term rentals

Lightfoot proposes stricter rules on short-term rentals
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex, which the city is redeveloping with help from TIF district funding (Getty)

State approves funding for low-income housing for Near North TIF district

State approves funding for low-income housing for Near North TIF district
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...