VALLEJO, Calif. - In a vast, 250,000-squre-foot Mare Island building in Vallejos where the U.S. Navy once built the submarines needed to win World War II, a developer is building affordable, stacked, three- to five- story apartment units, assembled on top of parking structures.
Then Factory OS founder and legendary developer Rick Holliday is going to truck them to spots like San Francisco and Oakland, where it's more expensive to build.
"We're setting 135 apartments and we're gonna put them up in about 30 days," Holliday said, referring to a recently concluded San Francisco project. "We're gonna build these and deliver them for less than half of what we think conventional building will be."
The whole project took less than a year to complete.
If this factory is successful and it looks very much like it will be, it will be able to turn out multi-family, stacked apartment buildings at a rate and volume not imagined by traditional builders. Because the various, multi-sized stacked modules can be staggered and offset, they won't end up looking like lifeless, boring Soviet-style apartments. That's an enormous savings, much less if the city lowers or eliminates the costs of permits and inspections to such housing.
With this new, enormous facility, Factory OS plans to build 2,000 to 3,500 apartment units a year. Houses will be moved along the assembly line by cranes and industrial air cushions. At two dozen assembly stations, 150 to 250 union employees will build the modules from the inside out. The modules, some as large as 16 feet by 70 feet, will likely contain two or more living units, studio sized to multi bedrooms.
"We will have it ready, finished and done in nine months, to ten at most, and most any other project will be a minimum of two years," Holiday said.
Factory OS has already planned three projects; two in West Oakland and a third in El Cerrito, all near BART stations. "To close California's housing gap, we'll need at least 3.5 million new units built 2025," Holliday said. "That's plenty of work to say the least."