Modular housing is hot. In the past few years, we've seen a number of modular homes and multifamily buildings start stacking up on the skyline, like the 32-story rental tower in Brooklyn, N.Y. dubbed 461 Dean St. that was to be the first residential and modular building in the Pacific Park area of the city. But the promise of the modular tower didn't exactly stack up to expectations says Realtor.com's Clare Trapasso. She writes:
The enormous complex at 461 Dean was plagued by all sorts of problems leading to the very same cost overages and delays the modular construction was intended to avoid. In fact, it wound up serving as a vivid illustration of the challenges that the industry faces as it explores newer, cheaper, and faster building methods.
Shortly after groundbreaking, things started going wrong. There were reports of misalignment issues that meant modules didn’t fit together quite right. There were leaks and water damage. Forest City and the construction company, Skanska, ended up suing each other. Charges of breach of contract, flawed designs, and irresponsible cost-cutting flew back and forth. The project is thought to have gone millions of dollars over budget, although the developer declined to release the exact amount.
Experts are mixed on whether the problems dogging 461 Dean will dissuade other urban developers from putting up their own modular high-rises.