This is a rendering of East Bank Flats, a proposed five-story apartment building on Sycamore Street in South Bend. Image provided
This is a rendering of East Bank Flats, a proposed five-story apartment building on Sycamore Street in South Bend. Image provided
BRISTOL — From a patch of asphalt outside Mark Line Industries’ Bristol plant, John Morrison ascended a small step ladder, stepped through an opening in the side of a construction module and emerged into a hallway on the third floor of what will become East Bank Flats.

Wearing a tailored suit and clear safety glasses, Morrison led a reporter and photographer past the elevator shaft and into part of a two-bedroom unit at the end of the hallway, featuring the front hallway, kitchen, furnace room, laundry room and one of three bathrooms.

Sitting atop a trailer for delivery, the module is one of 22 that will form the upper floors of the mixed-use apartment building, which recently broke ground on Sycamore Street, between LaSalle and Colfax avenues, in downtown South Bend.

Once complete, the five-story building will feature 12 apartments plus ground-floor office space and a rooftop deck. The deck will include a clubhouse, outdoor kitchen, dog run and 65-foot lap pool, and feature sweeping views of downtown and the River Lights.

Standing in the partially finished kitchen, with its hardwood laminate flooring and high-end cabinets, Morrison described modular construction as “a delivery method rather than a different end product."

“The intent,” he says, “is that no one would ever know that the fabrication was done off-site.”

Commonly associated with the manufactured housing industry, modular construction currently represents just 2.9 percent of new construction starts in the U.S., Morrison, a member of the board of the Modular Building Institute, said.

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