Chicago-based Skender announced the opening of a new advanced manufacturing facility on the city’s South Side for the production of multifamily, healthcare and commercial modular buildings. Peter Murray has been hired to helm the operation as president, Skender Manufacturing.
Approximately 100 new jobs will be created for the facility, which will be located at 3348 S. Pulaski Avenue. Production is scheduled to start as soon as this November for Skender Manufacturing’s first project, a six-story, 110-unit, 80,000-square-foot West Loop multifamily building.
“With the launch of Skender Manufacturing, our vertical integration is fusing design, manufacturing and construction into a single process,” said Mark Skender, Skender CEO. “Peter Murray’s experience in the advanced manufacturing industry will bring our vision to life. By designing, manufacturing and constructing modular buildings and building components, we can centralize and stabilize labor, standardize the assembly process and eliminate weather-related delays. This process will increase efficiency, shorten schedules, ensure consistent high quality and reduce costs—ultimately making new buildings affordable, even in our current environment of rising costs for labor and materials.”
New Chicago plant
To host the new operations, Skender recently signed a lease for 105,560 square feet of space in a multi-tenant industrial facility on the southwest side of Chicago. Hiring is underway to fill 100 positions at the facility within 18 months, and manufacturing will launch as early as November 2018.
Skender has been delivering construction projects throughout Chicago and its suburbs for nearly six decades and the company continues its dedication to the city by anchoring its manufacturing facility in an industrial park just north of Interstate 55.
Peter Murray, president, Skender Manufacturing
Murray brings more than 20 years of advanced manufacturing, operations and commercial experience establishing and improving international organizations. Murray joins Skender from an operations consultant position with Cohero Health, a privately-held digital health company, and from the management consulting company he founded, Murray Consultants, LLC.
Prior to consulting, Murray was president and chief operating officer for Guerdon Modular Buildings in Boise, Idaho, an off-site producer of modular construction projects. Before that, he spent 21 years with Welch Allyn, launching a successful greenfield production facility. He will rely on his building component manufacturing experience from Guerdon, his startup leadership experience and his organization transformation experience with the new launch.
“I’m a huge believer in advanced manufacturing and I’ve seen its potential for the building industry,” Murray said. “There’s no reason we can’t apply the principles of advanced product design to buildings. Skender Manufacturing will use technology to challenge industry norms and boundaries. Our Chicago factory will be a place where the status quo exists only to be destroyed.”
First multifamily project
Skender expects to have prototype modules ready for viewing and demonstration in September. Already, the firm is taking orders and developing designs for a number of multifamily and healthcare projects, including a 110-unit, 80,000-square-foot, six-story building being developed in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood to satisfy the growing demand for workforce housing.
Modules for the West Loop building will roll off the assembly line in the next few months and foundation and podium construction is expected to begin in early 2019. Assembly of the modular units onto the one-story structural steel podium is expected to start by February 2019. Installation of the modules will take approximately eight weeks, with substantial completion of the entire building expected by July 2019 for a total project timeline of approximately seven months—30 to 40 percent faster than the traditional building process. Total project development costs are expected to be reduced by 10 to 20 percent.