Construction method new to Seattle builds apartments in half the time

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by MITCH PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 7:00 PM

You don’t have to be a developer to know that Seattle is going through a building boom. All you have to do is drive through Capitol Hill or Belltown.

But new buildings are about to start popping up even faster: a new style of construction is being introduced to the area called ‘modular construction.’

Seattle-based company OneBuild says self-contained apartments are built at a facility off-site, then a crane stacks them in a matter of a couple of days to build the building.

“The crane lifts up each individual box and puts it into place on top, and they stack them like Lego blocks,” said Dale Sperling of OneBuild.

He says from breaking ground to tenants moving in takes as little as 6-7 months, half of conventional construction of similarly sized apartment buildings.

However, if there are any cost savings, they are not passed on to renters. A 452 square-foot studio in the Belltown building will still cost around $1,400, while a 700 foot loft will cost nearly $2,000 a month; standard for the area.

Sperling says the benefits of the construction include a more neighborhood-friendly process overall, and a significantly shorter time spent inconveniencing the surrounding area. He anticipates many more buildings going up this way in Seattle in the near future.

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