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Building a Shopping Mall With Used Shipping Containers in Wichita, KS

A new retail development is beginning to take shape in Wichita, Kansas, which is not anything new, when it comes to a growing and ever evolving mid-western community in the US. What is raising eyebrows and turning heads in this city in the heart of America is the unusual looking project that’s been taking shape in Wichita’s own back yard.

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Abundance of Shipping Containers in Kansas

For the past year, residents of Wichita have watched as a lot at Central and Volutsia in an underdeveloped, mostly residential area in Wichita has become filled with rusty shipping containers. Wichita developer, Michael Ramsey of Bokeh Development, wanted to give young entrepreneurs an affordable way to get their start, create an environmentally friendly business hub, and design something unusual enough that it would get people talking.

Revolutsia will be an attractive, open-air nucleus of shopping, restaurant and retail that will be built out of shipping containers. This new shopping center won’t be your standard strip mall, the kind common on street corners all over the heartland. Ramsey plans on Revolutsia being ready for customers by mid-summer of 2018.

The Growing Trend of Shipping Container Malls

Shipping container malls have become to spring up all over the country, and high-profile types have been constructed in San Francisco, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Seoul, and London.

Design and Vision of Shipping Container Mall in Wichita, KS

Revolutsia will be an open-air, two-story center that’s anchored by an attractive stone cottage already on the property for several years. The 36 stacked storage containers, which will be painted shades of gray, white and green that complement the cottage, will hold 12 to 15 businesses and will be arranged in a square behind the cottage. In the center of the development will be a courtyard with outdoor seating and a big gas fire pit. Large decks will be built outside the containers, including several second-level decks filled with tables and chairs.

The shipping containers, entirely reused, are 8 feet wide and 9 feet tall, and most are 40 feet long. Most businesses will have between 320 and 640 square feet of space.

In an effort to extend the seasons in Kansas and give residents a chance to be outside more throughout the year, Revolutsia plans to be an all-season destination. In colder months, the center will have outdoor heaters, and the upper-level decks will help trap heat in the courtyard, and the square shape of the center should provide a natural barrier from the harsh Kansas winter wind.

Cost Savings by Using Shipping Containers

Starting a business at Revolutsia will be far more affordable than starting a brick-and-mortar shop because the cost of the restrooms, the courtyard and other amenities will all be shared by the tenants, who normally would be individually responsible for all those costs.

What makes this development more affordable is the reuse of the shipping containers as the core of the architectural structure. The shipping containers are the shells; however, you still have to put in insulation, drywall, electrical wiring, plumbing and heating and air. In the end, combining a strong, and safe center that’s cost-effective and cool looking is challenging.

Reviving a Neighborhood

The corner of Central and Volutsia will connect two developing areas in Wichita together, and it will increase walk-ability in the neighborhood drawing people on foot from nearby Wesley Medical Center and can be utilized by the city’s new bus stops and sidewalks. Recently, the city constructed a high-tech new crosswalk that will provide pedestrians a safe way across Central directly to the entrance of the shipping container development. A half a mile to the east of Revolutsia, is Central and Hillside, which has several fast-food restaurants, and a couple of busy strip centers, including a new Starbucks.

Once again, it’s easy to see the use of shipping containers for building is coming into good use throughout the US. If you’d like to purchase a shipping container, we’d love to hear from you.

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