Tiny shipping container homes and businesses now becoming more common in Colorado

Homes offer affordable option in expensive market

DENVER -- Your next home could be making its way across the ocean right now.

In an increasingly unaffordable housing market, many are turning used shipping containers into affordable, efficient and environmentally-conscious homes and retail spaces.

"I am excited about what's coming up for spring," said Mark Hansen, co-founder of Denver-based Topo Designs outdoor gear company.

Topo Designs' flagship store in Denver sits at 25th St. and Larimer.

"Right in the middle of two shipping containers that have been put together, yeah,” Hansen said. “Two 40-foot shipping containers."

It's a growing trend here in Denver and around the world.

"They only have so many uses -- across the ocean and then they get stuck somewhere -- so this is a much better use, in my view," Hansen said.

The market is growing so much, Colorado-based Rhino Cubed specializes solely in tiny container homes that range in price from $35,000 to $125,000, giving many an affordable housing option in an expensive market.

“The price escalation on the Front Range is out-of-control,” said a spokeswoman with Rhino Cubed.

Rhino Cubed says a few drawbacks include many cities where codes and zoning aren't keeping up with the trends.

For example, lot sizes are often too big and too expensive for those looking to install a small container home.

"Part of it is just the reusable aspect,” said Hansen. “And they are efficient. Behind all these panels - there is insulation. It's a spray in. It's real thin."

Hansen says shipping containers just make good sense because the dimensions are always crystal clear and the structural integrity is never in question.

"They're built to a very high, very specific standard."

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