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Northeastern Ohio Embracing Shipping Container Project Trends

Shipping container apartment complex

Shipping containers are proving to serve many vital purposes throughout Ohio, specifically in the northeastern part of the state. Residents, commercial developers, and non-profit organizations in the Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown and Warren region are repurposing shipping containers for storage, housing, retail and environmental projects.  

This blog highlights a few unique applications happening all around Northeastern Ohio.  

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Shipping container apartments going up in Cleveland

Shipping containers aren’t just for houses – they can also be used for apartment buildings. Cleveland, Ohio, has plans to use recycled shipping containers to build a 64-unit apartment complex on E. 72nd Street in Cleveland.

According to a news article on, the shipping container homes proposed for the complex come in four styles: duplex, triplex, triplex with an alternate facade, and duplex compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 Developers say the standalone homes are based on the concept of Arkitainer on E. 72nd Street, which is believed to be the first mixed-income shipping container apartment complex in Ohio.

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Shipping containers help spark retail revival on Cleveland’s East Side

Repurposing shipping containers for retail businesses and entertainment venues are becoming a big business in Cleveland and its suburbs on both east and west of the city.

One such project got the ball rolling in July 2019 when business incubator BoxSpot in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood coordinated a $1.5 million project that included ten shipping containers placed around an internal courtyard that doubles as a community gathering spot and open-air market on weekends.

According to a story on, the collaborative project was spearheaded by the Burten Bell Carr community development corporation and supported with grants from the Cleveland Foundation, the city of Cleveland, and the federal government.

A handful of local entrepreneurs, chosen from nearly 100 applicants, opened businesses to help spark a retail revival in a low-income, majority-black neighborhood on the city’s East Side.

Burten Bell Carr’s executive director Tim Tramble said the project was a huge success.

“We’re providing access to quality retail space for micro-enterprises that would otherwise not be able to afford such spaces,” he said in the news story. 

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Akron Sustainer uses shipping container to teach sustainability

When teaching the importance of sustainability to businesses and residents, it helps to lead by example. That’s precisely what Akron Sustainer is doing – right down to the building it calls home.

Akron Sustainer’s location at 21 W. North St. at the Cascade Lofts in Akron consists of an 8-foot by 20-foot shipping container painted by the University of Akron Art Bomb Brigade.

Akron Sustainer is an educational initiative designed to spark many small sustainability projects that generate lasting change. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the initiative was launched through a $5,000 Torchbearers’ Small Projects Achieving Real Change grant. 

Kaley Foster, who helped coordinate the effort, said the focus was to “educate people on the reusing of materials and minimize our impact on future generations.” 

According to the news story, Foster partnered with non-profits Let’s Grow Akron and Summit Reworks for a Sustainable Saturdays workshop series, which has covered everything from seed starting to rain barrels to making rugs and bags from upcycled plastic bags.

The shipping container was featured in the 2017 Akron Home & Flower Show and is decorated with furniture created from recycled materials, some from the former Firestone and Selle buildings in downtown Akron. 

The shipping container also includes a solar panel, vegetative roof, rainwater catchment system, and a habitat wall. The wall is made of recycled pipes, tree branches, loose stones, and stacked bark to provide habitat for bees, birds, and bats. It is attached to the side of the shipping container.


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For more information about finding a shipping container in the Cleveland, Akron, and Canton, Ohio areas, click here. You can also check out our shipping container Buyers’ Guide here.