Nashville Biz Journal: Deutschmann’s nifty construction trick: Condos not made in Nashville

    The Nashville Business Journal recently featured an article about Alloy and the benefits of modular building.

    Source: Nashville Business Journal

    Of all the commercial construction smothering Nashville, there’s only one job site where there’s nothing being built.

    That’s not to say the crews aren’t busy at 370 Herron Drive, just south of downtown, where Nashville developer Mark Deutschmann is actively under construction on a 100-unit condo project that features the new roasting operations of local coffee brand Bongo Java. But you won’t find any of those workers making condos there.

    Builders located hundreds of miles away, in a pair of tiny Pennsylvania boroughs, are handling that work. Deutschmann’s Core Development Services is doing something rare, if not unprecedented, for Nashville: building modular multifamily units off-site and having them trucked in. It’s an example of the creativity developers must embrace these days, with skilled laborers routinely poached by competing contractors, available tower cranes in scarce supply and prices surging for everything from glass to steel. Officials at Core Development say the strategy has slashed some five months from their construction schedule — partly because the approach enables Core Development to avoid the ongoing permitting backlog at Metro’s Codes Department.

    “With labor in short supply because of all the building going on, and the difficulty of getting projects completed on-time, this became a method that was financially feasible in this market,” said company vice president Kent Campbell. “It’s competitively priced versus building on-site, and it cuts the total construction time by about a third.”

    The first phase of the Alloy on Tech Hill project features 82 condos, and buyers have put down deposits to reserve more than 60 percent of those units so far, Campbell said. That first phase will take about 11 months to complete, from the time Core Development closed on its construction loan to the time condo buyers move in. While workers in Pennsylvania are building the condos, workers in Nashville are laying the foundation for the buildings to come.

    “It’s just a more predictable construction schedule. The costs for us probably come out pretty close to the same, but you’re shaving a lot of time off, which means your core personnel can move on to the next job and the buyers can move in quicker,” Campbell said.

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