New Wichita company capitalizes on a popular trend in restaurants and other buildings

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The new Sticky Bird restaurant on the west side is the first modular building for ModuAll, a new company within the Lange Cos. that’s designed to capitalize on the modular construction trend.

“We started noticing the trend in modular restaurant design several years ago,” said Joe Robertson, brand manager for the Lange Cos., which includes Lange Real Estate.

RedGuard, another company within the Lange group, already has been building blast-resistant buildings for some time, and Lange’s SiteBox Storage offers portable storage.

ModuAll was a logical next step.

“It’s that entrepreneurial drive,” Robertson said. “We’re always evaluating: What can we do that adds value to a wider audience?”

The cost of the buildings depends on a business’ needs.

“The hope is that it will be less expensive and faster,” Robertson said.

In addition to modular restaurants, ModuAll is in talks with a couple of different groups about modular housing that would be “low barrier to entry housing.”

“We would be building a small shelter-type home that fits those people who are displaced and unhoused,” Robertson said. “This would be their home, and they would have that sense of ownership.”

The homes are a possibility for OneRise Health Campus, the Lange Community Foundation’s planned 70-acre behavioral health campus near the northwest corner of Meridian and MacArthur.

“This ties in really well with what we want to do at OneRise,” Robertson said.

ModuAll also is working with 7 Brew Coffee, the chain known for dropping multiple modular buildings in communities where it locates.

Though 7 Brew already works with other modular companies, Robertson said, “Their growth right now, it’s really bigger than any one manufacturer.”

He said when ModuAll first started talking to 7 Brew, the questions were, “What can you produce? What is the quality of product you can make?” That lead to a deal.

Robertson said a modular concept makes a lot of sense for restaurants.

“It has a huge upside.”

He said Chick-fil-A has used the buildings for sites where it wants to update existing buildings.

“It’s less disruption.”

Site preparation and building construction can be done simultaneously, and weather doesn’t disrupt the building construction.

Robertson said if a business already has ground it likes, it simply needs to ready the foundation then drop in the building.

“You’re up and going in a matter of weeks versus months.”

Also, he said, coming out of the pandemic, more restaurants are turning to drive-throughs as people aren’t dining in quick-service restaurants quite as much.

For instance, Sticky Bird has a limited dining area. However, if that trend changes, Robertson said the chain could take off the facade of the restaurant and create a larger dining room.

He said there are a lot of different possibilities with modular buildings.

“We see it as a really big trend.”