Would you live in an 8-by-40-foot shipping container that’s been to China and back?
Two young real estate developers in Washington, D.C., say their new apartment building of converted steel hulks, once used to haul cargo across oceans, has people lined up to move in.
“It was a great feeling to know that … we could repurpose these and that we could put them into this use and the finished product is going be beautiful,” said Sean Joiner, who is behind the project with business partner Matthew Grace.
If the idea of living inside an 11,000 pound box of steel doesn’t sound “beautiful,” Joiner and Grace say the completed space will be convincing.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?” Joiner said. “A lot of people would argue that living in a steel glass building, people pay a lot of money for that, right? That's what this is.”
The three-story building, made of 18 repurposed containers, will have all the amenities of a standard apartment structure.
“It's going to have a lot of warm feel from the finishes that we're going to do -- a lot of steel, so you'll actually see some of the container inside, which will be a really good contrast I think, and a lot of glass,” Grace said. “So it's going to be a very open building with lots of natural light in there, and it's going to feel like a great place to live.”
Architect Travis Price, who first presented the container idea to Grace and Joiner, called it an affordable alternative to traditional construction methods.
“Our target is pretty low, in terms of where we compared ourselves to conventional construction, and I think we're going to hit it,” Joiner said, while declining to discuss specific financial figures.
Construction started less than two weeks ago, and if all goes to plan, the building will be ready for tenants to move in by September.
And the selling point for those tenants, Grace and Joiner said, is that they will get a relatively large amount of living space by D.C. standards at an “affordable” rate.
“It's a larger unit for people who want their own space, as far as bedroom and bathroom go, with a large common area,” Joiner said.
“We're both young guys and we have a lot of friends in the city who make decent money, but it's really expensive to live here,” Grace added. “So, I think there's an attraction to be able to find a place where you can be with your friends, you can get a place and not pay an arm and a leg to live.”
To find out more about this new experiment in real estate, and to decide for yourself whether you might enjoy living in an old shipping container, check out this episode of “Power Players.”
ABC News’ Scott Wilson, Alexandra Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, Hank Brown, and Mary Quinn contributed to this episode.