Modular construction firm founded by SHoP principals unveils first apartment
Greystar goes big in modular
Real estate firm opens manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania
If modular construction proves to be a significant part of real estate’s future, Greystar Real Estate Partners wants to be part of it.
The South Carolina-based firm announced the opening of a factory in western Pennsylvania last week to serve as the flagship of its modular construction business, Modern Living Solutions. The factory in Knox is the firm’s first modular production base.
Greystar announced the modular construction business in December 2020, when it acquired the 256,000-square-foot industrial property in Knox. At the time, the factory was expected to open in August 2021.
Bob Faith, Greystar founder, said in a statement that the facility would “deliver a rental product that is less expensive, more attainable, and sustainably produced to meet a need we are seeing in the market.”
Generally, modular construction is akin to assembling a car. Machines and people build a home on the line, reducing labor costs. The process is designed to save time, as the apartment is constructed in a factory, while another team can simultaneously deal with the site and foundations. The home is then transported to its site and put into place.
Since the puzzle-piecing process is faster and cheaper, it could make homes more affordable, a big need across the country. On the other hand, buyers have less ability to customize their homes and builders are limited in size by transportation capabilities. Additionally, local codes make it difficult to create a one-size-fits-all system.
Greystar projects the factory will allow it to deliver modular apartments 50 percent faster, as it won’t be constrained by things like weather. Greystar also vows to build homes with lower carbon footprints, featuring roughly 80 percent less than traditional builds.
The Knox factory will serve the Mid-Atlantic region, focused on communities 30 to 45 minutes outside of major cities, such as Pittsburgh and Baltimore; Modern Living’s corporate home is in Baltimore.