Shipping Containers Could Become $100K Condos in Detroit

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Empty shipping containers could get new life as designer condominiums, if a Detroit-based group gets its way.

Architect Steven Flum and developers Patrick and Leslie Horn plan to build a $1.8 million, 17-unit condo project near Wayne State University with approximately 85 recycled shipping containers.

The project, "Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks," would stack empty containers four high, cut in windows and doors, install plumbing, stairways and heating, and add amenities such as balconies and landscaped patios, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Groundbreaking could take place this fall on the project if it wins city approval, and it could open in 2009. It's designed by Detroit-based architect Steven Flum.

"It's like building blocks," Flum told the Free Press. "From the architect's point of view, the containers allow for creative urban design. They are innovative and modern, but also affordable."

Developers plan to offer condominium units measuring 960 to 1,920 square feet. Prices will range from about $100,000 to about $190,000.

The plans were unveiled Saturday in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit entitled "Considering Architecture: Sustainable Designs From Detroit."

Using shipping containers as building blocks for construction is nothing new, said Leslie Horn, who runs Power of Green Housing.

"It's been done in Europe and, to a limited extent, in this country," Leslie Horn said in a press release. "But no one has looked at organizing the process on a larger scale incorporating a range of recycled materials and efficiencies that could save a homeowner as much as 60 percent annually in energy costs."

In 2005, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban created a Nomadic Museum in New York City. That temporary structure was constructed of rented shipping containers and paper tubing.

Click here to read the Detroit Free Press' report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.