Skender shutters South Side modular construction plant

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Credit: Skender

Skender Manufacturing has shut down its modular construction plant 3348 S. Pulaski on the city’s south side, about 17 months after it opened to fanfare on May 28, 2019.

Company officials said then that their system would help revolutionize home construction, and soon steel frame units containing kitchens, bathrooms, sitting rooms and bedrooms started rolling off the assembly line, ready to be quickly assembled into homes.

However, the company, a spinoff of Chicago-based general contractor Skender, was forced to shut down after hitting roadblocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, that dried up the financing needed to keep the factory humming, Crain’s Chicago Business has reported.

“Really what it came down to was raising capital,” Skender Manufacturing CEO Mark Skender told Crain’s. “Obviously, it was a tough decision, but I still believe in the business model. This is what the housing industry needs.”

Bisnow reported that Skender representatives said said in 2019 they could cut costs by 15 percent and shorten construction time by 40 percent by bringing construction tasks from the field to the factory.

Sterling Bay, the developer of the $6 billion Lincoln Yards project on Chicago’s North Side, agreed last year to use the factory for 10 three-flats, the published report said.

Skender also caught the attention of city planners, who said modular construction could help ease Chicago’s affordable crisis.

“The new Skender advanced manufacturing facility is a win-win for Chicago, generating job growth on the Southwest side while advancing a creative solution to address the affordable housing shortage,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the factory’s opening.

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