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CitizenM's modular hotel on the Lower East Side is now under construction

The 210 pods that will make up the rooms were fabricated in Poland

The modular units will sit on top of a three-story concrete podium.
Brack Capital Real Estate

A curious concrete finger has, for months, poked up near the intersection of Bowery and Delancey. It isn’t a construction project gone bust—the structure is just the elevator shaft for the citizenM hotel coming to the site at 185 Bowery. The peculiar construction timeline—elevator first—owes to the building’s unusual status as a modular building. But as a Wall Street Journal piece points out, the installation of the 210 pods that will make up the hotel is on, and is expected to wrap up in the next few months.

CitizenM chose Polish company Polcom Modular to manufacture the units, which are being trucked in finished and stacked on-site. When its complete around February or March, the hotel will stand 20 stories tall and hold 300 compact rooms, making it the largest modular construction hotel project in New York City.

Modular construction isn’t seen all that often here, but it has its advantages. It allows for a certain quality control—think of it as the Big Mac of hotel rooms—while also speeding up construction versus traditional methods by two to five months. It will also reduce the number of truck trips to the site versus traditional building methods by 1,200. (This, of course, does not account for the extra heft of shipping the pods from Poland as opposed to fabricating them in New York—something the developers said they wouldn’t be opposed to in the future.)

“That is the beauty of modular construction,” the chief executive of Rinaldi Group, the project’s construction manager, told the Journal. “It really minimizes disruption to the neighborhood, to the community, to the traffic flow.”

CitizenM is co-developing the site with Brack Capital, who scooped up the four adjacent properties that comprise the site prior to 2008. CitizenM Bowery is slated to open its doors in mid-2017.