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The Pieces Of The World’s Tallest Modular Hotel Are Stuck In A Brooklyn Port

A rendering released by Marriott in 2019 of the planned modular hotel at 842 Sixth Ave.

Developers attempting to build a 26-story modular hotel in New York City have been hit with liens and construction delays, putting a cloud of doubt over the future of the ambitious project.

842 Enterprises Inc. had aimed to have the AC Hotel, a Marriott International brand at 842 Sixth Ave., built by the end of last year, but myriad problems have stymied construction.

The owner of the development, which would be the tallest modular hotel in the world if it comes to fruition, is trying to raise more money to complete it, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a person familiar with the project. More than 12 contractors have filed liens against the property, per the publication, and 100 prefabricated hotel rooms bound for the development are still stuck at a loading dock in Brooklyn.

In recent years, modular has emerged as a potential way to speed up construction and cut back on costs, though many of the initial developments have faced challenges. Even amid soaring construction costs, modular is used for a very small percentage of developments around the country. 

The Dodge Data & Analytics Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020 report found that the main challenge in the U.S. for the adoption of modular construction is lack of interest, as well as a concern that certain components aren’t easily available.

"There's still somewhat of a stigma to it," Resolute Capital Partners Managing Director Candace Powell told Bisnow earlier this year. "People hear 'modular' or 'off-site construction' and they instantly think 'mobile home,' which is kind of funny, considering that we use modular construction to build very high-end luxury townhomes."

At the end of 2019, Marriott Chief Development Officer Eric Jacobs said at a Bay Area Bisnow event that 50 of the company's 1,500 hotels in the pipeline were being built with modular construction, which he described as “not enough."

Modular in New York City, one of the most expensive places to build, has been tried before. Forest City, before it was acquired by Brookfield, developed 461 Dean St. in Brooklyn, one of the tallest modular buildings in the world at 32 stories. The process was wracked with delays, and Forest City sold the modular factory it leased in Brooklyn to its former head of modular.

The 19-story citizenM hotel at 189 Bowery is said to be one of the world’s largest modular construction hotels. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced plans in 2019 to use modular construction for a 176-unit affordable housing complex at 581 Grant Ave. in the East New York section of Brooklyn.