Plug 'N' Plan
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|We may not be a fan of the Red Sox, but we're intrigued by something else from Boston—mass customization of multifamily housing. Bisnow Boston reporter Susan Diesenhouse snapped Oakwood Development's Ling Yi Liu, one of the technology's developers, with colleagues Kin Lau and Betty Stump at 277 Broadway in Cambridge, Mass., a nine-unit prototype building of apartments that adjust to a resident's lifestyle (so unlike the Jeffersons, there will be no need to move on up to the East Side). Now under construction, residents will be able to change the interior layout without renovating. They just have a crew move the walls, plug them into the mechanicals, and the living room is bigger, a bedroom converts into a smaller study, and the kitchen pantry transforms into a Jacuzzi for the master bath.|
|The wall, built with sheetrock and studs, is a self-contained panel that sits on risers so it's stable, but easily relocated in dozens of other spots. Susan somehow wound up in front of the camera, left, listening to Ling Yi explain that one apartment has about three dozen possible layouts. (Those are the floor plans on the wall.) He created software that designs the component parts with mechanicals to support them. With a supply chain that has links in China, all in, total development cost is about 5% less than traditional construction, and rents are market rate, i.e. $1,900 for a one-bedroom. But Ling Yi says Oaktree offers residents higher quality for a unit that can change as they change, extending the holding period for a condo owner.|