CITY OF CHICAGO: Mayor Lightfoot Joins Skender to Open New Advanced Manufacturing Facility on Southwest Side
City of Chicago issued the following announcement on May 30.
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Skender CEO Mark Skender and community and business leaders for the ribbon cutting of a new advanced manufacturing facility on Chicago’s Southwest Side. At its new facility, located at 3348 S. Pulaski, the Chicago-based construction, design and manufacturing firm will develop steel modular housing units from technical design to onsite completion, expanding affordable housing options for Chicago and other cities across the country.
The new state of the art manufacturing facility will create modular buildings using a new cost-effective and sustainable method, allowing for faster development of affordable housing, hospital and healthcare buildings for Chicago and in cities beyond. Skender’s new manufacturing facility will create 150 new full-time jobs once operations reach full capacity.
"The new Skender advanced manufacturing facility is a win-win for Chicago; generating job growth on the Southwest side while advancing a creative solution to address the affordable housing shortage,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We will work with residents, community leaders and developers across the city to ensure every Chicagoan has a safe and affordable place to live. The addition of new modular units will improve access to sustainable housing, prevent homelessness, and ensure that as Chicago grows all of our neighbors can afford to grow too.”
The new steel-frame three-flats will be developed in just nine weeks, which is faster and more cost-effective than traditional methods of subsidized affordable housing construction. In the first year, Skender anticipates it will produce up to 200 affordable housing units through a mix of three-flats, six-flats and mid-rises.
“We are proud to join the City today in opening our new production facility that will revolutionize the way we address the affordable housing crisis,” said Mark Skender, CEO, Skender. “Our new facility in Little Village combines the highest quality building materials, cost-effective building practices and a premier workforce to construct sustainable and long-lasting homes faster than ever before, and for the communities that need it most. In addition to three-flats, we will also produce mid-rise multifamily, hospitality and healthcare buildings.”
On site at the facility, skilled union employees will assemble 95% of the modular components, including fixtures, finishes, and most appliances. In addition to the 150 new manufacturing jobs, Skender has committed to hiring locally for installation by partnering with Communities for Construction. To help source, train and prepare the workforce for specialized careers in manufacturing, Skender has partnered with Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, Cara Chicago, Heartland Alliance, Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT), Central States SER and the Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC).
“The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters was integral in the development of this revolutionary partnership with Skender,” said Executive Secretary-Treasurer Gary Perinar. “This puts the City of Chicago at the forefront of a new, innovative and efficient method of constructing multifamily, healthcare and hospitality projects through modular manufacturing. Our highly trained and skilled carpenters will ensure high-quality products and projects that will improve and enhance communities across the city.”
This new modular technology presents developers with a creative solution for lowering the costs of building up communities that have long been disinvested through affordable housing solutions. Through its Department of Planning and Development, the City will coordinate which City-owned lots may be available for affordable housing purposes to ensure investments are prioritized in areas of greatest need and to address the large gap in affordable housing in Chicago.
The first modular three-flat will be installed in the Humboldt Park neighborhood as part of10 affordable-rate, three-flat apartment buildings assembled on currently vacant lots in the 27th Ward. Each three-flat consists of 12 modules, totaling approximately 3,750 square feet per building, featuring three two-bedroom, one-bathroom units with modern finishes.
“The city needs more affordable housing and I am thrilled to have these initial units from Sterling Bay and Skender in the 27th Ward,” said 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett. “The units produced at this factory will not only create jobs for Chicagoans, but also help address our affordable housing shortage by bringing more housing stock into the market. This is a win for all Chicagoans.”
The initial project located in the 27th ward is being led by Chicago-based developer, Sterling Bay, which has committed to investing in affordable housing opportunities throughout the city, and potentially partnering with affordable housing nonprofit organizations to lease and manage the units.
“Sterling Bay is proud to be partnering with Skender on the first modular affordable housing units. This is the start of something that begins to tackle the issue of housing needs in and around the city. Together we are thoughtfully addressing how to deliver housing in a way that is effective and scalable, and that has the potential to make a huge difference, not only in Chicago, but within the industry as a whole,” said Andy Gloor, CEO of Sterling Bay.
Another new development led by the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), called the Garfield Green, will soon add affordable rental units to the East Garfield Park Community.
The Lightfoot administration is committed to preserving Chicago’s existing stock of affordable housing and accelerating the expansion of new affordable housing. To increase access to affordable housing, Mayor Lightfoot is working to streamline city processes, remove barriers to development, and improve how residents, developers and the City engage in the location and design of new housing. The administration has appointed a new Housing Commissioner, Marisa Novara, to spearhead new policies that will work to facilitate needed housing preservation, development and renovation in every neighborhood.
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