You’ve heard of modular homes; Minneapolis just got its first prefabricated apartment building

The prefabricated home industry is a well-known entity. South Minneapolis now is getting its first modular apartment buildings, with the pieces placed together like a jigsaw puzzle with cranes last week.

The $4 million project, dubbed “Mod42,” at the corner of S. 32nd Avenue and E. 42nd Street in the Standish-Ericsson neighborhood, was largely built on an assembly line in Owatonna and then trucked to Minneapolis.

Last week, workers stacked each boxy unit like a Lego toy. The giant boxes — each 16 by 72 feet — were then bolted together to form a 30-unit, three-story apartment complex.

“It’s the first of its kind in the Twin Cities and the first of many to come” for commercial buildings, said Rise Modular CEO and Founder Christian Lawrence.

While prefabricated homes are common, prefabricated and multistory commercial structures such as apartments and hotels are not in Minnesota. They have largely been constructed on the East and West coasts, and even became a go-to solution for much-needed worker housing during North Dakota’s fracking boom about eight years ago.

But the dearth of modular construction options in Minnesota has created a good opportunity here, said Lawrence, who plans to build more apartments and other structures.

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