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Finnish Company Plans $750M Georgia Factory for Mass

May 25, 2023May 25, 2023

A Finnish company is planning an expansive factory in south Georgia to advance its goal of disrupting the housing industry by building homes on a robot-driven assembly line rather than on a traditional construction site.

ADMARES is building one of six planned smart factories globally in Waycross, with plans to employ 1,400 people and investing $750 million. Production is slated to start in 2025.

Based in the city of Turku, Finland, ADMARES said it is in the process of moving its headquarters to the United States. The company has been applying its founders’ expertise in ship-building and other offshore industries to the modular construction sector for about a decade. Projects thus far have focused mainly on hospitality, with ADMARES providing prefabricated rooms or entire hotels for major brands. The company has also produced floating villas in the Middle East, Europe and beyond.

Now, aided by an array of German partners, the Finnish firm is embarking on an ambitious global expansion, placing smart factories in strategic markets around the world.

ADMARES has been working since 2015 with Porsche Consulting and MHP (a consulting firm owned by Porsche) on the design of its factories, which will use connected devices and software provided by Siemens to bring manufacturing practices from other sectors into housing, a heavily regulated space that has been stubbornly slow to change despite the promise of 3D-printed homes and other emerging innovations.

Using Siemens design software, each home will have a "digital twin," a method used in the creation of complex physical products that enables simulation, testing and monitoring on a digital representation of the object. Homeowners will have ongoing access to information about their home, including air quality data, throughout its life cycle. All units will be tested in the controlled environment of the factory prior to being sent to the assembly site. In 2021, ADMARES said it put together a building in Brooklyn in two days. In addition to single-family homes, the company builds multi-family buildings and townhomes.

ADMARES is betting that its momentum will enable it to build with scale at a time when housing construction is hindered by rising costs and a lack of available labor.

"The unavailability of workforce is an urgent issue for the construction industry globally. Our technology offers a solution, as there's no need for traditional construction site or traditional construction workers," Mikael Hedberg, CEO and founder of ADMARES, said in a release announcing the construction of a pilot home with Siemens.

Georgia officials praised the firm as potentially providing a solution to the "workforce housing" issues the state has been trying to solve. Lack of affordable housing stock is seen as limiting manufacturing growth, as employees forced to live farther from their jobs are less likely to build a career track with their employers.

"Workforce housing is a growing national challenge, and Georgia is no exception. The new ADMARES facility is helping address that challenge, filling a niche that is critical to economic development," said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson.

Housing got a mention in Gov. Brian Kemp‘s State of the State address earlier this year, as the governor proposed a $35 million fund to support rural workforce housing.

Pat Wilson. Brian Kemp