Shipping container hotel in Florence sparks new ideas for Colorado housing

Two entrepreneurs building homes out of shipping containers in an industrial zone hope to seed an affordable community as innovators flock to Florence

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun

The Industrial, a hotel and Airbnb with units made of refurnished shipping containers is seen on Monday, June 21, 2021 in Florence. Units feature reclaimed steel roofing and re-salvaged cabinets, doors and tiles.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun

FLORENCE — Past downtown’s hip coffee shop and brewery, across the street from a gravel pit and next door to a long abandoned house, a Lego-like solution to Colorado’s housing crisis is taking shape.

“Everything you see in here was recycled or it can be recycled,” said Wyatt Reed, swinging open the doors to a 40-foot shipping container.

Inside the metal box is a plush home, with insulated walls, re-used cabinets, trim from local barns, salvaged doors, decorative tiles made from melted down garden plant containers and lockers from the high school. Reed and his business partner, Barna Kasa, buy the shipping containers for about $4,000 and convert them into homes. Their business plan calls for eventually selling the move-in-ready homes for $50,000, and a bit more for units that ship inside the container and are assembled on top, offering nearly two-times the space.

“I call it Ikea meets Uber for homebuilding,” said Reed, leaning back on the railing of his rooftop patio.

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