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Multifamily Monday: DIY Apartment Building

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Multifamily Monday: DIY Apartment Building
Park87 is noteworthy just because it's a new apartment building in the Fresh Pond neighborhood of Cambridge, a city known for having few available sites, high costs, and rigorous permitting. But what's really cool is the new approach to multifamily development and construction: mass customization.
AbodeZ Development's Ling Yi Liu at Park87
The concept is the brainchild of AbodeZ Development's Ling Yi Liu, an MIT-trained electrical engineer, and MIT professor Kent Larson. We snapped Ling Yi Thursday in front of the 54-unit building that will be ready to move in by Oct. 1, after just nine months of construction, a process that might normally take 14 months. On the mass customization: interior layouts can be reconfigured to the tenants? preference. Also, savings on the development cost, about 10% less than stick-built, go straight to the bottom line, Ling Yi says. The building is made up of 76 boxes, each of which contains building parts: chunks of exterior walls, kitchens or bathrooms, living rooms or bedrooms; all mechanical/HVAC systems, wiring, plumbing.
Multifamily Monday: DIY Apartment Building
The ancillary skills of playing with Legos as a child. Here?s one of the 24 boxes delivered in late July that all took only two days to set in place. It took two months to tie them together, patch seams, connect piping and wiring. The boxes are built by KBS Building Systems in Paris, Maine. Interior finishes such as closets, granite countertops, bathroom accessories, and sustainably harvested Russian maple are manufactured and shipped directly from factories in Guangzhou, China to KBS. Another unique dynamic of the project is that the team shares knowledge, risk, and closely collaborates to work faster and lower costs, says Ling Yi, whose title is chief integrator. Team members include: Tocci Building Cos., Khalsa Design, and owner Oaktree Acorn.
Multifamily Monday: DIY Apartment Building
Workers dismantling a wall in an apartment are preparing for a tenant who will soon move into 277 Broadway, the other building AbodeZ just completed across town. The panelized interior walls can be moved easily because they sit on the finished floor. Rents in the two buildings are in a similar price, $1,500 for a 390 SF studio to $3,100 for a 1,200 SF three bedroom. Eric Hamelburg, the community manager, says so far demand is greatest for the two and three bedrooms because so few are built here.