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VOL. 132 | NO. 242 | Thursday, December 7, 2017

Multifamily Containers Next on Entrepreneur’s List

By Patrick Lantrip

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Whether it’s employing folks from the neighborhood at his South Memphis recycling facility or helping clean up the city, Fred Spikner loves making Memphis a better place one small step at a time.

Fred Spikner, owner of Park Place Recycling, is planning to build an apartment complex out of shipping containers in the Medical District area. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

And as the owner of two varied businesses – Spikner Inc., a screen-printing and embroidery business, and Park Place Recycling & Logistics – Spikner also likes to think outside the box when it comes to entrepreneurial endeavors.

So with these two ideas in mind, Spikner decided to try his hand at another business venture – The Containiums, a 14-unit apartment complex made from recycled shipping containers on the eastern edge of the Medical District.

“When you get into the recycling business, you have to kind of think forward,” Spikner said. “So I thought: ‘hey, what can I do that nobody else is doing?”

Spikner said the idea to turn the used shipping containers that were already coming through his recycling facility into housing was a no-brainer, so he went about the task of researching the best practices for container homes – different styles, how and where to build them, municipal requirements, etc.

At his Park Place facility, Spikner has about 12,500 square feet dedicated to fabricating the recycled containers, which he said brings some much need neighborhood-level jobs to the area.

“One of the main things about going into the recycling container business is you’re able to create some jobs out of it,” he said. “There are a lot of people out here looking for jobs, so if we’re able to spur up any type of employment and economic base in that neighborhood, we’re all for it.”

In addition to the extra jobs in the neighborhood, Spikner hopes his latest endeavor will help fill another void – the lack of affordable housing.

“We’re trying to make it where you can have somewhere to live and still survive,” he said. “We’re creating that atmosphere where you can live in the inner city and also be able to ‘live in the city,’ – shop, go out of town, take vacations, and explore the world instead of being bogged down with all these bills.”

Fred Spikner, owner of Park Place Recyling. Spikner is planning to build an apartment complex out of shipping containers that will be located in the Medical District. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

Although, he admits, they might not be for everyone.

“Millennials and generation X love that type of stuff, so I’m thinking now is the time to jump on that,” he said. “I would like them, but most people in the older age groups may think the container homes are a little small.”

Spikner said each of the 14 units will clock in at 640 square feet, have two bedrooms and one bath, and will be constructed with mostly recycled and repurposed materials.

“We trying to do more than just the standard,” he said. “We’re trying to upgrade them a little bit, so they are still recycled items and goods, but they look good the way that they’re designed.”

Spikner plans on taking the process one step at a time, but if everything goes as planned, he hopes to fill more of the city’s vacant lots with recycled container homes and apartments.

In the meantime, he said several people have already contacted him about purchasing their own fabricated shipping containers for residential projects.

“There are a lot of people in Midtown who bought a couple of lots back in the day and now are trying to figure out what to do with them since the resurgence of apartment complexes has come,” he said. “We’re trying to make it where you can have somewhere to live and still survive.”

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