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Second Prefab Apartment Building Set to Rise Uptown

 The Lilak, by HAP Developers, will go up at 655 W. 187th St..
The Lilak, by HAP Developers, will go up at 655 W. 187th St..
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Courtesy of HAP Investment Developers

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A building made out of prefabricated modular units built offsite — the second to be built uptown in recent years — is headed to the area.

The Lilak, at 655 W. 187th St., will be a 47-unit residential rental building made of modules with what appear to be a pale purple façade, according to plans presented to Community Board 12’s Housing Committee by HAP Investment Developers.

The eight-story building will be shipped to New York in 97 modules built at a Pennsylvania factory that will be assembled on site, project manager Monzer Khafagy told the board.

HAP is using the prefabricated method in part because it’s more cost-effective than traditional building processes, Khafagy explained.

 Three houses on West 187th Street, including one that was the site of a 1958 murder, will be torn down.
Infamous Uptown House to Be Demolished for New Development
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“In regular construction you do everything in a series,” he said.  “But this way they are building the units while we are laying the foundation. It saves money because it saves time and there’s no loss of rental time.”

The new prefab building, also known as HAP Four, will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, some with private terraces, Khafagy said. It will also feature amenities such as underground parking, a communal space on the roof, a gym and a playground. The ground floor of the building will be occupied in part by a community facility, most likely a medical office, he added.

All of the units will rent at market rate, though Khafagy did not provide details on the projected price points to the board.

The development will go up on the site of former rowhouses, including one home that saw the brutal 1958 rape and murder of a teenage girl that horrified locals for years.

HAP expects to begin construction in May 2015 and complete the building by June 2016.

The developer is enlisting the same factory that built modules for The Stack, a similar prefabricated building at 4857 Broadway in Inwood, Khafagy said.

Some residents expressed concerns about the modern appearance of the building, which will replace several wooden row houses that were demolished earlier this year.

“Many buildings in this community are around 60 years old, so they have a certain design and character,” said Wayne Benjamin, a board member who does not serve on the housing committee. “Even modern buildings can pick up on those architectural cues, but this feels completely in its own world.”

Khafagy said there may be room to make changes to the design, including the color of the façade, a concession that HAP has made with other developments.

“We’re still working on the design of the building so that it won’t stick out too much,” he said.