ENGLEWOOD — Turning shipping containers into homes has been the mission of a local developer.
Adrian Gutierrez, owner of Mighty Containers, has plans to put the first residential one in a vacant lot he owns in Englewood.
Although the homes have landed in California, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., he said he believes this would be the first residential shipping container in Chicago. His plan is to bring more to Englewood if the first one is a success.
In 2015 the Irving Park resident attempted to bring a shipping container home to a plot at 5709 S. Elizabeth St., but was met with resistance from neighbors, so he decided to try a different block, he said.
Gutierrez, who owns about 20 vacant lots in Englewood, has since set his sights on 6145 S. Wolcott Ave., which is directly across the street from Lindblom Math & Science Academy.
Oftentimes, many of the shipping containers remain in ports after they’ve been used to either export or import merchandise because it’s pricey to send them back.
Recycling them into container homes will be eco-friendly and inexpensive, which can help homeowners save money, Gutierrez said.
“I’m just finally glad to see the project move forward,” he said. “I’ve been trying to do it for years.”
The shipping container home would be at 6145 S. Wolcott Ave. in Englewood. [Provided by Adrian Gutierrez]
Although the standard container is 8 by 20 feet, he wants to use two larger containers that are 8 by 40 feet each — resulting in a 640-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom home. The home would have a kitchen, and the bedrooms and living room would have 9½-foot floor-to-ceiling windows.
Wind turbines would be installed to power the home.
“We’re looking to cut the electrical bill by at least 50 to 60 percent cheaper than what everyone else would pay,” he said.
There would be a rainwater containment system and low-water usage toilets added as well.
“My primary focus right now is just keeping all the expenses to the very bare minimum for whoever lives there,” he said.
The average cost for a shipping container is $2,000 to $2,500, not including framing the walls, insulation, drywall, electrical, plumbing, bathrooms and more. Gutierrez said he’ll probably end up spending $35,000 to $40,000 to create a home, depending on the type of finishes used.
He said he’ll probably rent the home for about $500 a month, and the tenant would be responsible for utilities.
Although he believes container homes are the future, he said there’s still a negative connotation about them. He hopes that his home will change that, he said.
“Right now there’s still the stigma that you’re living in a box, a steel box, but I think once this one gets out there, people will really start to take a look at them and take it a little more serious,” he said.
In order to receive his permit to build, he will have to submit the completed plan to the city’s Building Department.
A message to the department wasn’t immediately returned.
Gutierrez said he would like to get started on the foundation as soon as the weather warms up.
The property is in the 15th Ward of Ald. Raymond Lopez. Lopez said he was aware of the proposed home, but he declined to comment.