In cities across the country, a new way to construct buildings is taking hold. Shipping containers are making a splash in urban development as a building option that is both functional and affordable.
One city seeing shipping containers popping up on its horizon is Salt Lake City. Bright blue shipping containers are now occupying a 150 square foot space in the city’s Granary District. Despite its small size, the shipping containers are equipped with a 12-foot storefront, electricity, heating, and air conditioning.
While the outside looks exactly like a traditional shipping container, the inside definitely does not. The interiors of the future businesses are outfitted with everything you would expect. There’s drywall on all sides, insulation lining behind that, baseboards and electric outlets along the walls, and lighting on the ceiling. The property is complete with outdoor event space that includes planting, seating, and more lighting.
This space is now being called Little City, and according to its co-founder Tim Sullivan, the goal of the Little City is to offer more affordable buildings to business owners who have been gradually pushed out of expensive commercial space. As shipping containers made of durable steel have an average lifespan of 25 years and require minimal maintenance, the renting price is lower than normal to match the inexpensive upkeep.
Derrick Childs from Container Homes U.S.A knows these low costs well and is planning to bring them to the city of Cleveland. Resident Patricia Thomas bought an empty plot of land right next to her rental home and has aspirations to partner with Childs to put a home made of shipping containers on that land. The plot only cost Thomas about $500, but it is large enough to accommodate a two-bedroom, two-bath home made of shipping containers.
According to Childs, it only takes about nine hours to build and frame a shipping container home, compared to the average two months for a standard house. This speed makes the costs of these homes much lower and an easy-to-build solution for neighborhoods across Cleveland.
There are no finalized agreements between Thomas and Childs for her plot of land yet, but community development organizers have told Cleveland’s News 5 that shipping container homes could make a big difference in getting average people into homes that they can actually own.
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