East Coast Modular Builder Buys U.S. Katerra Assets

Industry News ,

Originally Published by: ForConstructionPros.com — August 4, 2021
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Volumetric Building Companies (VBC) has received approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) to purchase Katerra, Inc. assets. Photo credit: Volumetric Building Companies

A troubled modular construction startup in California that had received millions in investments is in the process of being purchased by a Pennsylvania company. 

According to a press release:

Volumetric Building Companies (VBC) has received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) to purchase Katerra, Inc. assets, including the lease and tenant improvement of their manufacturing facility and offices in Tracy, Calif. 

Katerra filed for bankruptcy protection on June 6, 2021 and the transaction is part of a court supervised sale of its assets. 

Katerra sold building platforms, structural systems like truss assemblies, modular and prefab construction, as well as cross-laminated timber, commercial glass and more. It aimed to use technology and modern building materials to "help address some of the industry's most entrenched challenges." 

Watch a video about Katerra:

Volumetric Building Companies is a volumetric modular business headquartered in Philadelphia, Penn.

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Katerra's 577,000-sq.-ft. California factory, which opened in 2019, is an automated production facility designed for the manufacturing of building components, including wall panels, floor systems, roof trusses, windows, cabinets and countertops. The newly built offices and showrooms include 50,000 square feet of custom fit-out and furnishings, conference rooms, model display areas and office suites.

“With the continued growth and success of VBC, we were exploring options to expand our manufacturing footprint and industry influence,” says Vaughan Buckley, CEO at VBC. “Katerra’s Tracy location provides an exceptional opportunity to bring our hands-on construction and manufacturing expertise to a state-of-the-art facility and build our presence on the West Coast. We look forward to moving quickly to allow displaced staff members to return to work, restart production and support the needs of a very robust construction environment.”

VBC is encouraging former Katerra employees to apply to work at the Tracy location as it reopens and begins production by visiting https://www.vbc.co/tracy/.

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VBC is looking to begin manufacturing of windows, cabinetry, countertops, trusses and panelized building components in 60-90 days and has plans to produce modular housing components in 2022. 

“Katerra’s bankruptcy and the shutdown of the Tracy location significantly impacted its employees as well as a wide range of customers,” Buckley says. “We are hopeful that we can provide jobs to many of those employees and help address the needs of those customers. We well understand the current state of play in the construction sector and our goal is to provide great products, superior service and customized solutions for the vibrant California and western U.S. markets.