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Shipping Container Architecture Booming in Colorado

From tiny container homes in Salida, Colorado, near the Arkansas River to the 29 shipping containers that serve as stores and restaurants in RiNo’s entertainment hot spot in Denver, shipping container architecture is booming in Colorado. 

All over the Centennial state – Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins and places in between – shipping containers are being converted into private homes, restaurants, resorts, vacation rentals, personal and commercial storage units and all kinds of creative ventures. The trend of using shipping containers instead of standard brick-and-mortar buildings in Colorado has been gaining significant momentum over the past 5-7 years.

Business owners and residents have experienced the major benefits of repurposing some of the thousands of unused shipping containers in the world. Those pros include being economical, durable, easily customizable and resistant to mold, fire and pests.

Shipping containers are ideal for personal or commercial storage. Families and businesses around Colorado are transitioning to shipping container storage rather than traditional sheds, garages or storage units. Some Colorado businesses are using shipping containers, or similar steel units, for their rental storage facilities. Shipping containers also make for a great storage option on farms and ranches to store equipment, feed, hay and other supplies.

There are many shipping container transformation tales to tell throughout Colorado. Here are some creative ways shipping containers are being used as homes, businesses and other structures around the state.

Shipping containers in Colorado tell a story

“All these shipping containers have been around the world – it’s cool just to think about what was in them and what countries they’ve been to because they all have their unique story,” said Regan Foster, a Denver firefighter, who used nine shipping containers to build a home near Denver. “All the containers have their dents in them, so it’s not just like this perfect shipping container house. I tried to bring as many of those types of materials into our house – materials that have a story behind them.”

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Large shipping container home in northwest Denver, Colorado

The Casa Club blog, a blog that highlights marketing trends of the container home industry, features a shipping container home built in northwest Denver in 2016 out of nine containers stacked into two separate stories. With seven bedrooms and five bathrooms, there is plenty of space and a breathtaking wide -open living area. 

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Best cities and counties in Colorado to build shipping container homes

Shipping container homes in Colorado are popping up everywhere. But there are parts of the state where they are easier to build than others. Between space issues and state and local zoning regulations, residents thinking about designing a shipping container need to do their homework. 

To help you get started, check out this list of cities and counties that are considered to have more relaxed regulations when it comes to home structures. If you don’t have a specific city in mind for the building of your tiny home, you might want to look into cities where the regulations are more relaxed.

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Shipping container rental storage facility in Longmont, Colorado

One self-storage rental company near Denver discovered the benefits of using shipping containers as part of its operation, rather than traditional units. This simple, low-cost way to start a self-storage facility avoids expensive construction costs and allows the owner to make a profit very quickly. It alleviates the costs and limited flexibility that comes with investing in and renting out other types of properties.  

Brekke Storage is a family-owned business that started with a few mini storage units, then transitioned to trailers before upgrading to shipping containers. They now serve customers in southern and western Colorado, Wyoming and even Nebraska and Kansas. 

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Unique shipping container home with a fantastic view in Carbondale, Colorado

Homes created from shipping containers are often found in urban or suburban settings and are designed to fit a small lot and appeal to outside-the-box buyers who desire a short walk to entertainment.

But this shipping container home in Carbondale, Colo., is different. It’s built on 35 acres of land in the Roaring Fork Valley and has postcard-perfect views of the mountains from every room. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home spans 1,351 square feet and includes a furnished bunker 25 feet underground that’s ideal for a survival shelter and is accessible through a concealed trapdoor in the living room.

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Shipping container entertainment mecca in RiNo Colorado

What started out as playing with Legos turned into one of the most unique entertainment districts in the country for commercial developer Ryan Diggins. 

He used dozens of old shipping containers (and his imagination) to construct a modern mixed-use microspace on an empty lot in River North Art District (commonly shortened to RiNo), creating one of Denver’s hippest neighborhoods.

In 2013, he and his builder opened 25th & Larimer, the 29-container complex that houses businesses such as outdoor-apparel retailer Topo Designs, a series of office tenants, and two of Denver’s most highly acclaimed new restaurants. Set just north of the South Platte River, the one-time warehouse district includes new apartment complexes, restaurants and bars that have transformed the landscape. 

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All around the country, including Colorado, families, businesses and commercial developers are jumping on the shipping container conversion bandwagon. They are attracted to the uniqueness of its architecture and the call of creativity. 

Learn how you can include shipping containers in your next building project in Denver or elsewhere in Colorado, by checking out our shipping container inventory here