Shopping Center Business

JUN 2018

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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SHIPPING CONTAINERS 52 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • June 2018 tainer experiences allow small business concepts the opportunity for community engagement. This design lends itself to a fast turn- around from design to occupancy, up to 30 percent to 50 percent reduction in construction time, frequently as short as 90 days. A container can be set up on site in 20 to 30 minutes. With the ability to build on negative revenue land, with lit- tle sitework or build-out required; along with the option to relocate once the par- cel becomes leased, shipping containers can become a quick a way to test new markets. The interlocking or standalone possibilities are virtually endless; enabling a full shopping center to be dismantled into smaller centers or units. Starting small and adding containers as popular- ity grows makes them an ideal building unit for scaling up or down depending on the needs of your project. The intrinsic characteristic of a shipping container is its transportability. These vessels can provide almost instantaneous functional retail space generating the benefits of a perma- nent building without the commitment of a single location. In fact, many large retailers are using containers as travelling brand experiences. Though they can be used for either temporary or permanent construction their mobility creates many opportunities for events, markets, pro- motions, and pop-up stores allowing for more flexibility in location that does not exist with traditional building. This trend is hot, but don't jump yet. Container retail isn't for the faint of heart. The ambiance of container retail is entic- ing yet it comes with some challenges; these challenges come with a cost and should be entered after a thorough ex- amination of the costs and benefits. The first big issue is that container retail gives the impression that it is less expensive because you are already using an existing building component that just needs to be customized. This isn't necessarily true. The final costs are often found to be as expensive or even more expensive than traditional construction per square foot. Shipping containers are often much more expensive than they appear. Though the delivery time savings, reduced soft costs, and faster project cash flow which can offset these higher costs. If this con- struction type is new to the locale, there may be challenges with the initial per- mitting from the local government as in- spectors are trying to apply conventional construction codes to an uncommon construction type. Permitting and inspec- tions may take longer the first time but as municipalities gain experience the pro- cess should speed up. The learning curve is high unless you have an experienced contractor familiar with this type of con- struction. Also, the structural capability of shipping containers is at the corners and they can be stacked up to nine units high, but once you begin to cut holes in the sides and cantilevering containers off other containers, they require additional structural steel which can add significant cost. This counters one of the main rea- sons they are used in the first place. Located near a university, Common Ground is cited as one of the most "Instagram-able" places in Seoul, South Korea. A shipping container project in the Ivy City neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

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