These chic condos made from shipping containers are coming to Newark

By Erin O'Neill | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on June 25, 2015

A project under consideration in Newark calls for building multi-family housing in the city's historic Lincoln Park neighborhood with used shipping containers. This rendering from C C Architecture shows the front of the proposed Halsey Street development.

 

NEWARK — With 18 shipping containers, a development group plans to build a multi-family property on a vacant lot in Newark that they hope will serve as a model for urban housing development in other cities.

The project, which is a joint effort of Cor10 Concepts and Community Asset Preservation Corporation, is slated to go up in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods: Lincoln Park. There, on a piece of idle land on Halsey Street, the developers have proposed using the steel boxes to build a three-family home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in each unit.

While shipping containers have been used in multifamily construction projects in Washington, D.C., Detroit and Connecticut, Siree Morris, a principal of the Newark-based firm Cor10 Concepts, said he hopes the Lincoln Park project serves as a catalyst for this type of development in New Jersey.

"We would be able to set precedent for this type of construction to be done in a large capacity in various municipalities in the state of New Jersey," Morris said. "We feel as though we would be able to open up the floodgates to different types of applications that you can use this container construction."

The units, which have been designed to cut down on energy costs, will each be built from five shipping containers and another three will be used for the stairway. The developers expect their construction costs to be up to 15 percent lower than what it takes to build a wood-framed home.

The city's planning board approved the project earlier this month and the developers are now working through the permitting process. Morris said he expects construction to begin in September -- "give or take" -- if all goes as planned and the units would sell for between $225,000 to $250,000.

Frederick Cooke, principal of C+C Architecture, said the idea of designing a project built from shipping containers appealed to him for a number of reasons, including an interest in repetitive and module systems and supporting the "idea of recycling these things which are building up in massive mountains on our port cities."  

"It's good to find a way to repurpose them in a way that's more constructive for our society," he said.

Jersey Shore businesses have been using shipping containers as retail space and an architect built a home with shipping containers in Hunterdon County but Arthur Hood of Cor10 Concepts said he hopes this project encourages other towns to consider projects that break from the traditional methods of home construction.

"There are a number of municipalities throughout the state and throughout the nation for that matter whose housing stock is in poor condition who would welcome something different," he said.  

Community Asset Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit group that buys vacant and abandoned properties to help stabilize and revitalize communities, owns the vacant lot at 393 Halsey Street where the project is set to be built.

The nonprofit group's director of real estate, Jeff Crum, said the they felt this project was a good fit for the Lincoln Park neighborhood because the area has an artist community that would appreciate "this sort of funky, different type of construction."

The director of housing and economic development for Newark, Baye Adofo-Wilson, said this project "just adds another layer to the arts diversity that is already preexisting" in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

"We're looking for creativity. We're looking for ingenuity. We think it's important that developers try to incorporate different types of materials, colors, designs, that really enhance the neighborhoods," he said.  "This project we expect will do that."


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