Forest City sells modular division

New owner in talks with developers to get BK Navy Yard factory humming

Roger Krulak, 461 Dean Street and MaryAnne Gilmartin
Roger Krulak, 461 Dean Street and MaryAnne Gilmartin

Forest City Ratner sold off its modular-building business to a former vice president at the firm, ending the developer’s brief and largely unsuccessful experiment with the prefab initiative.

Full Stack Modular CEO Roger Krulak bought the “core assets” of FC Modular, which Forest City [TRDataCustom] used to build the 32-story 461 Dean Street apartment tower at Pacific Park. He said he is in talks with developers to contract pre-fab buildings out of the company’s Brooklyn Navy Yard factory.

Krulak, who had been the senior vice president of the group at Forest City that would eventually become FC Modular, declined to comment on financial terms of the deal, but said it comes with a long-term lease on a 100,000-square-foot warehouse and 85,000 square feet of storage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

It also comes with intellectual property patents and a collective bargaining agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of New York.

“We’ve got several projects in the pipeline,” Krulak told The Real Deal. “Hopefully, we’ll sign contracts with some hotel developers and some mid-rise projects in Brooklyn.”

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Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin said the sale would allow her company to “focus on our core strengths,” namely asset management and development. FCR’s parent Forest City Enterprises became a real estate investment trust in January, and in July Gilmartin talked to TRD about how the transition would affect FCR’s business.

Gary LaBarbera, who heads the Building Trades, said he was pleased that the modular company “will remain at its home in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will maintain the agreement to employ highly skilled, unionized workers.”

FCR has been divesting itself of its non-core businesses. But its history with modular building was rocky, as the developer clashed with the Swedish firm Skanska, the former construction manager at 461 Dean Street.

Skanska shut the factory down for a brief period of time before Forest City bought out its stake in the operation in 2014. The developer had planned to contract with other real estate firms to fabricate modular buildings out of the Navy Yard, but when contracts didn’t materialize, Forest City laid off modular division workers en masse.

Krulak said he plans to rehire much of the original workforce.

Correction: Skanska shut down the modular factory in Brooklyn for a brief period of time, not Forest City Ratner.