Ready to live in a sea container? Six-story tower opens in Salt Lake City.
Box 500 Apartments – built from shipping containers stacked six stories high and locked together like LEGO bricks – is set to open in July at 543 S. 500 West in Salt Lake City.
The 83 units were created to be affordable, and future tenants must qualify to rent them earning 60% or less of the city’s median income, builder Rod Newman said. He did not immediately release the exact income figures that he will use to determine whether applicants qualify. But as an example, that would represent $ 19,000 for individuals and $ 36,500 for families according to U.S. Census data for 2019.
With white walls, light fixtures, and appliances, the apartments are modern, albeit small. On a recent tour, a classic L-shaped designed kitchen was windowless and had limited counter space – but a bathroom was arguably more spacious than some of the older townhouses.
The 52 studios are 320 square feet. There are 16 one-bedroom units and 16 two-bedroom units, with an area of approximately 640 square feet. One of the bedroom units will be used as office space, but all other units are currently available. Potential tenants can get on the list of applications by sending an email to [email protected] or calling 358-247-6683.
Using shipping containers as a frame has cut costs, Newman said, and shows that steel boxes can be used to provide more affordable housing as the population and housing prices of the Salt Lake Valley explode.
The industrial exterior retains the look of shipping containers, which sets it apart from some of the other builds in the area.
“We could have made it look like anything on the outside, but we left it,” said Newman, owner of development company Eco Box Fabricators, as well as Metro National Title. “I think that looks pretty neat.”
Is it safe to live in a sea container?
If you’re concerned about the idea of a house inside stacked shipping containers, staff at the Salt Lake City Planning Division said they’ve worked with Box 500 to ensure the building meets fire safety standards. in force, especially reliable outlets and sprinkler system.
The building can also withstand earthquakes and high-speed valley winds, said Orion Goff, deputy director of the city’s Department of Community and Neighborhoods.
Shipping containers are a solid building block, he noted. “These shipping containers are very, very robust from a technical standpoint,” said Goff.
Box 500 Apartments is one of the tallest buildings in the world made from shipping containers, Newman said, and city regulators have requested more design and engineering reports than buildings of traditional construction. could not have needed.
The models have shown that the Box 500 can withstand magnitude 7.2 earthquakes and winds of around 140 mph, the automaker said.
Building with shipping containers is also more environmentally sustainable, as the containers would otherwise be thrown out, he said.
The practice, called “cargotecture,” has been used for everything from restaurants to offices to seating in a baseball stadium. A small Salt Lake City company called Little City offers refurbished shipping containers for offices. Utah has also seen containers used in the construction of single-family homes and secondary suites, known as Mother-in-Law’s Apartments.
Salt Lake City faces a housing shortage of about 6,000 units or more, said Lani Eggerston-Goff, director of housing and neighborhood development. BOX 500 is just a small part of the solution.
“It’s a very small percentage, but as our department likes to say, every place someone can live matters,” Eggerston-Goff said.
The city is encouraging a variety of new residential developments, both in terms of building materials and unit sizes. With the rising price of people living out of their homes and the lack of available land in the city for development, Eggerston-Goff said, innovative approaches are needed.
“We need all of these sizes as well as different constructions to deal with the housing crisis,” she said.
With qualifying incomes set at 60% or less of the city’s median income, and with the rents that have been set, residents of Box 500 will not pay more than 30% of their income each month, Newman said.
Families are considered “burdened with the costs” if they spend more than 30% of their income on housing, according to the definition used by the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
To encourage lower-cost housing construction and make projects financially feasible for developers, governments can provide tax credits and fee waivers. For Box 500, Newman was able to waive construction and licensing fees by committing to keep rents lower.
Federal tax credits are also available for developers, although the application process can be lengthy.
Newman said he was inspired to start Eco Box Fabricators and build affordable housing after seeing a much smaller shipping container project in California. There, the boxes were used to build a dozen apartments for homeless veterans.
Planning for the Salt Lake City project began in 2017, but Newman said the long engineering work had set up the Eco Box for a faster process for future projects.
“If we hadn’t had so many problems in the licensing process and then in engineering, we could have gone a lot faster and not had so many cost overruns,” Newman said. “Knowing now what we know, we can do a lot better next time.”
Eco Box does not have immediate plans for another apartment building, but is filling orders for accessory homes and offices, Newman said.