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Whatever happened to the shipping container project that Works Partnership was working on in St. John's?


that is great! I have been looking into shipping containers for a retirement home.


I think it's portability makes it great but it, like manufactured homes that advertise low prices, is not very affordable once all the site improvements are taken into account.

Let's do the math:

Land: $100,000 (in the burbs...more close in)
Permits/SDC's: $ 15,000 (on the low side, $30K in many areas)
Soft costs: $30,000 (financing, insurance, taxes, closing)
Site improvements: $15,000 (excavation, utilities, grading, etc)
Cost of building: $87,000 (plus shipping and interior finishes)

Total cost: $250,000-275,000 for a 384 sq ft house that needs a kitchen and bathroom.

You can buy a brand new site-built 1500 sq ft, 3 br/ 2.5 bath house with a garage for $225K all done and landscaped.


Not nearly as cool but if we are talking affordability, here are some examples to compare:

873 sq ft new house for $155,000

A LEED certified new house 966 sq ft for $189K

1500 sq ft, 3 br, 2.5 bath for $225.000

2100 sq ft, 4 br, 2.5 bath new house for $275,000

By the time you are done with a c384 you are probably going to spend at least $275K. Most people would prefer the extra space over the scratched up floors. I bet a 384 sq ft box could be built on site for about $10,000-15,000 if you only want a shop.


holy moly. even without soft costs they are proposing $200+/sf. this is not going to get us to the prefab future. i also wonder about getting a.d.u. status past the city with structural and energy codes. hope they can do it, but it'll be a while before this beats a trip with a u-haul to lowe's to get the materials to build a backyard shed. i've yet to see the connection between the "free" shipping containers laying around that everyone (and their thesis) talks about and getting them to be a reasonable and realistic solution for housing. maybe i'll be proved wrong and i don't want to be a hater, but the shipping container gimmick is getting pretty old.


Another advantage:If you decide to move to another town, you don't have to pack anything, the crane comes hoists you on a truck, you go about your daily business, and a few hours later, zap, you are in your new locale, no moving trucks, bubble packing the crystal, etc. You can even have tea en route with your friends! Genious!


Great idea, but why ship it from Seattle? There are thousands of empty containers laying aorund our own Port facilities.

Sean Casey

It's nice to see the inaugural container/space finally arrive in Portland.

There's a certain affection for those cute, cuddly modular units. Legoland for adults.

However, Ben and John bring up valid issues regarding novelty versus practicality. Turning a simple item into a complex undertaking seems a little counter-productive.

Dee Williams home, profiled in the September 15, 2005 issue of the Oregonian, really seems the zeitgeist of what the best of eco-architecture can offer in terms of mobility and use of space.

Her home blows all these shipping container ideas out of the water when materials, cost, livability and respect for the neighborhood are considered. I'd encourage people interested to check it out.


Dee's house is like having a fort out back. Without the main house it is totally unfeasible. I mean, how is that much different than buying a camper off of Craigslist for under $1000 and parking it in your friend's back yard?

Shawn Busse


If anyone is interested in the "feasibility" of the detached ADU, take a look at my blog here: http://www.shawnbusse.com/private/houseblog/

It's not nearly as easy or cut-and-dry as one would hope. And yes, the costs are significant even if you remove the shipping container from the equation

Brian Libby

Nice try, you pathetic spamming scumbag! I just deleted all of the 20 nonsensical comments you left this morning. How about going to the trouble of writing out 40 more and I'll delete those with the click of a button too, you sad excuse for a homo sapien?

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