Excitement for Detroit Condo Project Hard to Contain

A Detroit developer is moving ahead with plans for an innovative condo project that will repurpose shipping containers for medium-density housing, reports John Gallagher.
November 19, 2012, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Despite their inherent advantages in cost and modularity, and some high profile successes, shipping container architecture has had a tough time attracting the attention of developers in the United States. A $3.4-million 20-unit condominium project being planned for a site near Wayne State University may change that.

"First proposed in 2008, the shipping-container condo project known as Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks stalled during the national real estate crash," writes Gallagher, "but is now back on target for a 2013 construction start." The return of the project was announced last week by Leslie Horn, CEO of Three Squared, the project's developers.

Although Three Squared is bullish on the adaptability of containers for a variety of building types - from emergency housing to dormitories - potential investors remain hard to convince. "Even last week I met with some investors and one of them said, 'I'd rather invest after you have one built.' I think part of it is education," Horn said. "People still have a stigma because they don't see the versatility in container construction."

A two-unit model is set to break ground in mid-December.

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Published on Friday, November 16, 2012 in Detroit Free Press
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