Call it ‘Mod-tague’ Street thanks to developer’s pre-fab bid

Call it ‘Mod-tague’ Street thanks to developer’s pre-fab bid
Architect John Newman’s renderings show a cool, modern design atop the Sleepy’s store at 116 Montague Street — but it was too cool and too modern for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
John Newman

Montague Street is about to go mod — and we’re not talking about bowl cuts and British rock bands.

The owner of 116 Montague St. is considering dropping three-stories of modular, prefabricated housing atop his building — a “construction” project that would take just three days.

By assembling the steel and concrete addition offsite and depositing it atop the one-story building, which currently houses a Sleepy’s mattress shop, the developer could shorten the construction process from 16 months to about 72 hours, according to architect John Newman.

“Rather than put up a construction awning and close the sidewalk for a year or 16 months, we could close Montague Street … and put the thing up in two or three lifts,” said Newman.

The developer is considering what he said is a more expensive construction strategy to curtail the bothers of building on busy Montague Street — like traffic, lack of parking, and lack of room for deliveries — Newman said.

Once completed, the six-unit addition — which was originally proposed as a more modern design that was later scrapped in order to gain approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission — will consist of a red brick façade, painted metal cornices, and cast stone lintels that will match buildings on the stretch in height and appearance, and won’t look like it was constructed from modular pieces, the architect said.

The builder behind the plan discussed his proposal with Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee last week — reviving talk of the unconventional construction strategy.

“There are questions about whether constructing this building using modular units built offsite would be less of an inconvenience to Montague Street in the long run than building it traditionally — and there seems to be a fair amount of consensus that it would,” said Community Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris.

Frank Rio, the owner of the property between Henry and Hicks streets, did not return calls by the time of publication.

It also remains uncertain whether the builder will receive permission from various city agencies that will allow him to move forward with his modular plan.

But neighborhood groups are eager about the discussion — even if they remain skeptical about the plans.

“I’m concerned any time there is any disruption to our businesses being able to operate in a normal way, but I do appreciate that the owner is making a really good faith effort to reach out to the community and reach out to businesses,” said Chelsea Mauldin, executive director of the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

John Newman

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