Baywood Hotels held a “stacking” event to kick off construction of the 145-room Hilton Garden Inn San Jose/Fremont in Fremont, California. It is the company’s first modular building project and the first Hilton Garden Inn built in the U.S. using the technique that involves assembling pre-fabricated pieces of the building on site.

BAYWOOD HOTELS HAS undertaken its first hotel development using the modular building technique. The project also is the first Hilton Garden Inn built in the U.S. using the technique.

In modular construction, parts of a building called modules are constructed off site, usually containing entire rooms with furnishings, and the “stacked” onsite. Columbia, Maryland-based Baywood held a “stacking” event for the Hilton Garden Inn San Jose/Fremont in Fremont, California, Aug. 12 to kick off construction of the 145-room hotel.  The five-story building, expected to open later this year, will include a full-service restaurant and bar and 12 EV charging stations.

Modular construction was the best technique for building in the area where the new hotel is located, Baywood Hotels President Al Patel said.

“The San Jose/San Francisco region faces numerous challenges with finding skilled labor, primarily due to the boom in residential demand,” Patel said. “The area was also recently faced with natural disasters, such as the flood and fires that have wiped out thousands of homes. Modular construction has many pros over traditional methods.”

Other benefits to the method include a simplified inspection process, less sound transmission, quicker on-site construction and higher quality, Patel said. John Greenleaf, global head for Hilton Garden Inn, also said the modular technique was the best choice for the Fremont project.

“Baywood Hotels has been a longtime Hilton partner and supporter of the Hilton Garden Inn brand,” Greenleaf said. “Given this potentially challenging construction market and building site, they were eager to work with us to test this game-changing technique which offers a way to construct the hotel in a timely, cost-effective manner that reduces the overall disturbance in the building location.”

Baywood Hotel President Al Patel, left, with Hilton Garden Inn Global Head John Greenleaf at the company’s “stacking” event.

Modular construction allows developers to better control labor costs and the final product, Greenleaf said, while minimizing the impact on the environment by recycling materials, managing inventory and protecting building resources.

It also will be Hilton’s first new-build, focused service hotel to implement the company’s Five Feet to Fitness Program providing in-room fitness equipment in eight guest rooms. It is less than two miles away from the Tesla Automobile Factory.

In April, Baywood opened its 10th Fairfield by Marriott hotel, the 94-room Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Denver Tech Center North, which also is the 1,000th Fairfield worldwide.

Modular construction has been growing in popularity. In June, Sri Krishna Enterprises and management company Southern Hospitality Services under CEO and President Ramesh “Roy” Pate opened the Home2 Suites by Hilton San Francisco Airport North, the first modular-built hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Thanks to its high demand but equally high barriers to entry, San Francisco is an ideal market to introduce our cutting-edge modular-build concept,” said Home2 Suites Global Head Adrian Kurre.

There were several reasons Flowood, Mississippi-based Southern Hospitality Services decided to use the modular technique, said BJ Patel, who runs the company’s Redwood City, California, office.

“First, the quality of the product because it is built in an enclosed environment; acoustic-wise, there is nothing better,” Patel said previously. “Second, the construction timeline is shorter. You know the saying ‘Time is money?’ In construction it is real money. And, third, in the Bay Area we have had a hard time finding enough skilled construction workers to complete a job. It is next to impossible.”

Other companies are using modular construction more, too. In April, Marriott International announced Concord Hospitality would build the tallest hotel constructed using the building technique. Robert Chun is owner of the AC Hotel New York NoMad, which is scheduled to open in late 2020. It will feature a 360-foot-tall tower that will be stacked over 90 days, according to Marriott. It will come with a modular roof and modular rooftop bar.

The AC Hotel in Oklahoma City is a modular-built property. NewcrestImage, led by Mehul Patel, is the developer, owner and operator. It opened in 2017.

Courtyard by Marriott opened in Pullman, Washington, two years ago. Stonebridge Companies is the developer, owner and operator. Navin Dimond is founder and CEO of Stonebridge.

Eric Jacobs, Marriott’s chief development officer for the company’s select-service and extended-stay brands in North America, told Bloomberg News in April that by 2025 modular-built hotels will comprise 25 percent of franchiser’s pipeline.