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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Studio One Eleven Focuses on Modular Construction to Deliver Affordable Housing

Long Beach-based architecture firm Studio One Eleven is working to bring more affordable housing to L.A. in a timely and cost-efficient fashion.

The company is using modular designs on projects from West Hollywood-based developer Daylight Community Development.
The two firms are working on three supportive housing developments, following their initial collaboration on Watts Works, a 25-unit affordable housing community.


Michael Bohn, Studio One Eleven’s senior principal, said many affordable housing developers are turning to modular construction to deal with prevailing wage issues.
“Prevailing wage is a big factor, and modular housing, because it’s built off-site, doesn’t have to be prevailing wage,” Bohn said.


Modular design can reduce project costs by 30% to 35%, according to Studio One Eleven. Using it also helps significantly speed up the process.
Bohn said the state generally approves modular housing projects in 15 to 20 business days — much faster than local jurisdictions approve traditional projects.


Once approved, work can start in the factories building the units and by getting the ground ready at the same time. Once completed, the units are brought in by a crane.
“It saves a lot of time, anywhere from eight to 12 months on the schedule,” Bohn said. “When it comes to affordable housing, that’s really important,” he added.

 
He said architecture firms like Studio One Eleven still do the site planning and often do the initial drawings for the state as well, and then the modular building companies do a shop drawing with final details.


The three new developments Studio One Eleven and Daylight are working on are the Vanowen Apartments, Oatsie’s Place and McDaniel House.
The Vanowen Apartments are at 11604 Vanowen St. in North Hollywood. The $21 million project is expected to open in late 2022 with 49 permanent supportive housing units spread across three stories.

 
The project is the first of the city’s HHH Housing Innovation Challenge projects to both close financing and start construction, according to Studio One Eleven.
The HHH Housing Innovation Challenge, which is providing funding to supportive housing projects, had already committed $96 million worth of funds to 15 projects, as of Nov. 23.


So far, two of those projects are under development while the other 13 are in pre-development, according to the city.
Studio One Eleven and Daylight are also working on Oatsie’s Place, a 46-unit project at 16015 W. Sherman Way in Van Nuys. The project’s units will be for women experiencing homelessness and survivors of domestic violence.


The project is expected to break ground next year.
The McDaniel House will be located at 1043-1049 Harvard Blvd. in Harvard Heights. Once completed, the project is expected to have 47 units for seniors and nearly 1,900 square feet of amenity space. Studio One Eleven plans to break ground next year.
Both are expected to wrap construction by early 2023.


Bohn said he expects to see more people consider modular construction going forward, but it will not work for all projects, especially if there are power lines involved.
“It’s not the solution to everything, but it can be a good solution,” Bohn said.


He added that unlike with traditional builds, modular housing also requires a lot of money up front as modular companies often want a chunk of money ahead of time, which some financing providers are still getting used to.

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