For those who attended BuiltWorlds’ CEO Tech Forum last spring, one of the more memorable moments for me was my onstage interview with Roger Krulak, the colorful and candid builder behind the world’s tallest modular high rise, a 32-story tower then nearing completion in Brooklyn.
Today, that controversial project, now named 461 Dean Street (formerly B2BKLYN), is finally open and receiving tenants. But last month, its developer, Forest City Ratner Cos. (FCRC), exited the modular construction business — this, despite earlier boasts that it had “cracked the code” on the tricky pre-fab project delivery method. The man who made that boast was none other than Krulak, himself, who now has put his money where his mouth is.
This fall, the former FCRC exec, now founder and CEO of Full Stack Modular, announced that he has purchased the core assets of FC Modular from his old employer. The new owner said in a release that it will offer “turn-key modular solutions for developers of new multi-family buildings, hotels and dormitories and will continue to operate out of the 100,000-sq-ft factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”
- To read our full B2BKLYN project story from last March, click here.
- To see inside the new 461 Dean Street, designed by SHoP Architects, click here.
The deal includes the long-term lease at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, all equipment and related intellectual property, and proprietary technology created for the manufacturing process. Full Stack Modular will also maintain the unique collective bargaining agreement that FC Modular had struck with the Building and Construction Trades Council of New York (BCTC-NY) and its union members, and anticipates rehiring much of the original workforce responsible for the Brooklyn tower, the company said.
“I am very proud to own a company that will continue to build upon our original mission at Forest City,” said Krulak. “Modular is the future of multifamily construction and Full Stack Modular will be at the forefront of innovation in our industry. Our systems are not only more efficient and cost effective than conventional building, but also more sustainable and community-friendly.”
Added FCRC President & CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin: “We have always been firm believers in modular construction and we are incredibly proud of the breakthroughs we’ve made… The sale allows us to focus on our core strengths — management of our assets and our incredible pipeline of development. We are thrilled that the high-rise residential modular industry we launched will continue its groundbreaking innovations in the skilled hands of Roger Krulak.”
Of note, FCRC’s sale of its modular business follows earlier divestments this year from other non-core businesses, including military housing and its FHA portfolio. Those moves stemmed from the developer’s 2015 decision to convert to a real estate investment trust (REIT) in January 2016.
For their part, the local trade unions now are also enthused by this latest news.
“We’re pleased that Full Stack Modular will remain at its home in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will maintain the agreement to employ highly skilled, unionized workers,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of BCTC-NY, which boasts 100,000 members. “It’s also good to hear that the company plans to hire from the community and anticipates rehiring much of the original workforce responsible for the project.”
- BONUS > Below, FC Modular’s promotional project video from last December.