With Jacksonville being one of the fastest-growing cities in America, it’s no surprise that multifamily housing complexes are shooting up everywhere.
Apartments and condominiums surround Jacksonville’s busiest areas: the Town Center, Riverside, the Beaches, UNF’s campus, and more.
But when growth like this occurs in busy, affluent areas of the city, it often leaves other neighborhoods – less affluent ones, namely – getting the short end of the stick.
Many of the multifamily options in Jacksonville’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods are in disrepair. But it’s hard to attract developers to an area without financial upside – and even harder if there’s been a lot of crime in the area recently.
Development of housing complexes is not only expensive, it’s a time-consuming process. So it’s not as simple as developers building in these neighborhoods too; they may not have the resources available.
A possible solution
It looks like there may be a way to at least save time and resources during construction of low-income housing – without increasing the price tag.
A faith-based nonprofit, Nothing into Something Real Estate Inc. (NISRE) is in the process of constructing “The Cargominium Project” in Columbus, Ohio.
It’s a 3-story, 25-unit condominium being constructed to house low-income residents and even homeless residents – but there’s a twist. Instead of wood and concrete, the foundation of this building is actually old steel shipping containers.
The experiment, aimed at creating a more efficient and eco-friendly solution to building low-income housing, is going pretty well so far.
According to a Columbus Underground article about the project, 54 shipping containers were stacked and welded together in a timespan of five days.
The condos will be small, but to NISRE’s clients they may be lifesavers.
The project broke ground in November and is expected to be completed in May – much quicker than the average condo project’s turnaround.
So why is this idea perfect for Jacksonville?
The obvious reason is that we already have a whole lot of shipping containers, being a growing logistics center.
According to Jacksonville Port Authority, our ports process over 1 million containers a year.
Some of those containers are bound to get taken out of commission – at which point they’re generally sent to the scrapyard, or bought up by companies that then fix them up and sell them off to other businesses.
Instead, they could be used to construct affordable low-income housing solutions that could be easily and quickly replicated in nearby lots.
Imagine if a nonprofit organization were able to form a partnership with JAXPORT, as well as CSX and other cargo handlers, where they would donate some of their out-of-commission shipping containers to be refurbished and used in a Jacksonville version of the Cargominium project.
It could provide an innovative, eco-friendly way to build low-income housing in areas where it’s most needed.
Do you think this kind of project could work in Jax? Do you think it’s a good idea in general? Let us know your thoughts – hit us up in the comments section below or on social media!