Some intriguing news out of Motor City for you today:

Construction on Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks, a 20-unit multifamily housing project composed of 93 retired shipping containers stacked four-high atop each other, will commence early next year in midtown Detroit. There’s not exactly a ton of particulars available on the $3.4 million container-to-condo project yet — a project first proposed in 2008 but shelved when the estate market tanked — but the Detroit Free Press and a handful of other news outlets have recently published articles on the begging-for-an-acronym project with a few key details and some words from Leslie Horn, CEO of developer Three Squared.

Designed by Detroit-based architect Steven Flum, Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks will be erected on a lot near Wayne University at Warren Avenue and Rosa Parks Boulevard. Additionally, a three-story sales center with dual model units will break ground mid-next month on Michigan Avenue, west of downtown Detroit. Prices for the condos — they’ll range in size from 850 to 1,920 square feet — have not yet been calculated, although Horn says the units in the 26,000-square-foot complex will sell for about 5 percent less than condos of a comparable size. According to Multi-Housing News, the units will be outfitted with ductless heating and air systems, tankless water heaters, and other energy-saving features that will help owners drive down energy costs by up to 80 percent.

Horn describes some of the challenges that come along with constructed condos out of decommissioned cargo containers (Exceptional Green Living at Rosa Parks is the first multifamily project to be built from ‘em in the U.S., by the way) to the Detroit Free Press: "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. People still have a stigma because they don't see the versatility in container construction."

And some advantages to Multi-Housing News: "In Europe, this type of technology is extremely common place, not only because of sustainability, but because of profitability. We are saving about 60 percent on the framing of typical construction by using containers because we can build much faster and at a fraction of the cost."

Horn adds:

Our company marries the trend toward sustainable green housing solutions with the problems of escalating building costs and a surplus of unlikely yet durable, versatile, widely available, economical and code-friendly shipping containers, which we use as the primary material for construction framing of houses, condominiums, dormitories and other residential, retail and commercial structures. We love Detroit and are thrilled to be building there and help lead turning both the city’s and our nation’s economy around.
There are also a few downsides to recycled shipping container construction — downsides recently called out by much buzzed-about modular home firm, Connect:Homes — that Horn, who's firm has invested more than $100 million in shipping container projects across America, skirts around. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this project as it progresses.

Would you ever consider living in a shipping container condo complex? What about a single-family shipping container home? Or would you rather just drive through one to pick up your day’s first Venti skim latte?

Via [Detroit Free Press], [Multi-Housing News] via [Smart Planet]

Rendering: Steven Flum

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Container city: Freight container condos coming to Detroit
Construction on Exceptional Green Living at Rosa Parks, the country's first multifamily housing project to be built from used shipping containers, will begin ea