Given that Oakland-based Michelle Kaufmann recently shut down her prefab company, there’s probably a larger story about the future of prefab to be written. What’s the demand like now? Will prefab drop in price? Should everyone follow the business model of Coolhaus? One company tweaking their model is Marmol Radziner Prefab. They’re definitely pushing their cabinetry and workshop business, and launched a new site targeting homeowners (press release here) earlier this month. As Todd Jerry, COO of Marmol Radziner Prefab, notes in an email to Curbed: "We are seeing more people do kitchen and bath remodels instead of building that new big house." And while the company will deliver a prefab home to West Hollywood later this month (wait: WeHo's first prefab?), the demand for prefab has definitely.....slowed. Writes Todd: "Based on zero demand at the moment for new construction, we are currently not building any modular homes in the [Vernon] factory...As the market picks up, we expect to build homes in our factory. In the meantime, we have been designing homes to be built in another factory."
We asked more about this other factory. According to Jerry, the company is working with other factories for a number of reasons. "First, out of our factory, we can only serve the southwest regional market," he writes. "Also, other factories that do more volume can produce homes at lower cost. We are now able to service a much broader market and do so at lower prices. The factory partner we are working with has several factories and we are looking at producing at one in Pennsylvania." Additionally, Jerry said there's a partnership deal that'll be announced later this summer. Meanwhile, what's going on in the shipping container architecture business? Has the economy killed that business? Part II on the prefab check-in next week!
· Marmol Radziner Prefab To Launch Less Expensive Product Line [Curbed LA]