Think of it as Lego construction.
A new hotel going up in Pleasant Prairie has benefited from a modular approach to construction.
Instead of building everything from the ground up, the new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott under construction at I-94 and Highway 165, is being pieced together with modular units consisting of two hotel rooms each.
The mods were built offsite in a climate-controlled warehouse in Strattonville in western Pennslyvania. The rooms, bathrooms, carpeting, wall treatments, furniture, bedding and all the fixtures were put together there and then shipped to Pleasant Prairie, where they were lowered into place by a crane earlier this week.
“We find that building modular hotel guest rooms is nearly an ideal project line for our build process,” said Chris Waters, director of business development for Champion Commercial Structure, a Troy, Mich.,-based modular development firm.
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“In other words, within each module we are able to achieve two finished guest rooms and an unfinished double-loaded corridor. It all stays within the confines of the rectangle, essentially creating a true Lego effect.”
Waters said the process includes the integration of conventional and modular elements to create a hybrid build approach.
“The modular and prefabricated construction solutions are becoming more and more popular due to the labor shortage issue in the construction industry throughout the country,” he said.
The Fairfield is Marriott’s only modular hotel in the Midwest, according to a corporate spokesman. Marriott has another modular hotel in California.
Fits with developer
The approach was perfect for developer David Hankin, who wanted to begin construction in the winter and get the hotel operational by October.
“We saw demand increasing with Haribo and jobs being created,” he said.
But construction in the dead of winter can be difficult, dealing with weather, frozen ground and the availability of labor.
As owner of Varin Realty, a development firm with multi-unit projects, Nankin decided to partner with Marriott, Champion and the construction general contract William A. Randolph Co. of Gurnee, Ill., to employ the modular approach.
“Its a trend in construction because there are delays due to weather, or the shortage of workers like carpenters, electricians, and it is built exactly to standards,” Nankin said, saying the approach takes less time as well.
So far, despite some weather delays, the four-story, 108-room hotel is on schedule. It is going in an area with several new development projects and is adjacent to the Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets mall.
It is a welcome addition, said Pleasant Prairie Village President John Steinbrink, citing the influx of people to the mall, the RecPlex and the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
It also helps to satisfy Kenosha County’s growing need for hotel space.
The Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau reports there are 1,100 hotels rooms in the county, not counting the two under construction, the Fairfield and the Stella, a downtown Kenosha hotel.