Non-union Kinnexx Modular Construction building low-density owner-occupied affordable townhouses

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Site of the East Garfield Park modular housing project (Google Street View)

A non-union builder is reportedly building the city’s first modular low-density owner-occupied affordable townhouse project in East Garfield Park.

Kinexx Modular Construction is working with Structured Development and its partner Black-owned Fain’s Development on the 40-unit project, of which 35 will be factory-built.

The homes are being marketed as “workforce housing” — priced “generally for working couples early in their careers. Think of those in health care, teaching or first responders,” The Chicago Sun-Times has reported.

Three bedroom units will be priced at $245,000, Structured Development’s founding principal J. Michael Drew told the newspaper.

“You go maybe three blocks east and you’ve got homes going for $600,000-plus, so this is definitely a bargain. Our buyers can build equity that they wouldn’t have in rentals,” Drew said.

Kinexx is growing rapidly. CEO Joshua Braun said he had just six employees in 2020, with 20 now, and additional hires planned for the coming months.

“The company is succeeding where a similar venture by Skender Construction in cooperation with the Carpenters union failed in 2020 after operating a little more than a year,” the published report says.

“Skender blamed a slowdown during the pandemic that scared off lenders. Kinexx is a nonunion shop, which can be a sensitive topic on construction sites here.”

“It’s a math equation, really,” Braun said. “And typically, union builders are not building single-family homes or townhomes,” he said.

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