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An Innovative Modular Marvel

An Innovative Modular Marvel

By Christopher A. Pape

The Stack has finished stacking. After a short delay, New York City’s first modular apartment building has finally taken shape as the last of the modules were delivered to the construction site in Inwood, New York.

The Stack, located at 4857 Broadway, was supposed to be erected in April and completed by July. The project was delayed when the Department of Buildings asked to re-review the permits.

“It’s so new, nothing like this has been done before in Manhattan,” said developer Jeffrey M. Brown, adding that the DOB just wanted to make sure all the details were solid. They were, and now, by Fall 2013, residents will be able to move into the modern, pre-fabricated building whose units boast high ceilings, stainless steel appliances and custom kitchens.

Brown and co-developer Kim Frank have contracted Douglas Elliman Development to introduce The Stack to the New York City rental market. Leasing will begin in Fall 2013, however, interested parties can register to be added to the real estate company’s priority preview list online at

The Stack features studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments for rent in the heart of Inwood, the northernmost neighborhood on the island of Manhattan. A short walk from the plush greenery of both Inwood Hill Park and Fort Tryon Park, as well as The Cloisters and historic Dykman House, The Stack is just minutes from Manhattan Transit Authority service 1 and A subways and offers easy access to the Henry Hudson Parkway, Harlem River Drive and Major Deegan Expressway.

The Stack apartments are designed with both elegance and durability in mind, featuring stained concrete floors, high performance aluminum windows and tenant controlled heat and air conditioning. Kitchens feature solid surface Corian countertops with undermount stainless steel sinks, maple cabinetry with stainless steel pulls, GE stainless steel appliances and WaterSense fixtures, while bathrooms offer contemporary vanities with storage and mosaic tiled walls. All residents can enjoy access to a common outdoor terrace, with additional private terrace space for approximately 35 percent of the units. Upon entering The Stack, residents will be greeted with a special concept of a virtual doorman for ensured safety.

The 38,000-square-foot concrete and steel residential and retail building is the first of its kind to be built in New York City and was manufactured entirely off-site by DeLuxe Building Systems in Berwick, Pennsylvania.  It was shipped to New York City in the form of 56 separate modules that now comprise the seven-story complex of 28 individual apartments with 4,000-square-feet of retail and commercial space on the first floor.

An added bonus to the Stack is the art installation-like process that captivated the neighborhood. Every day four new modules were fitted into place and the building took shape before residents’ eyes.
“The neighbors were watching from the sidewalk, the kids were watching from the school across the street and people were watching from cars,” said Brown. “In the first ten days we put together five out of seven floors, all of which were erected by an eight-man construction crew and a single crane.”

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Now that the 56 prefabricated modules (all constructed by hand off-site in a controlled environment) are set in place, move-in time will come quickly.  A small team is now combing The Stack, connecting utilities and adding finishing touches, while a façade is affixed to the side of the building.

In developing The Stack, Brown and Frank worked hand-in-hand with architect Gluck+ to design the building, explore the options and look at modular manufacturers. The $13 million dollar project is poised to redefine public perception of modular construction, by proving greater efficiency for on-site integration and unit quality control that will not only produce a more premium end product, but will also in turn lead to a boost in affordable housing in New York City. Neighbors and architecture buffs can now view a time lapse video of the construction process online at

“This project exemplifies the opportunity to create an exciting design for living while enjoying the benefits and efficiencies of controlled, offsite fabrication. As builders and developers, we are intrigued with this methodology and its application on a multitude of new projects,” said Jeffrey M. Brown, The Stack’s developer and general contractor.

Jeffrey M. Brown, CEO of Brown Hill Development, and Kim Frank, co-developer and owner of real estate finance firm MCA, bring a combined fifty years of industry experience and have collaborated on various innovative development projects including the Porter House in New York’s Meatpacking District. •

For more information on The Stack, please visit

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