Shipping container homes will soon be moving into back alleys across the city, if Daniel Engelman has his way.
The co-owner of Honomobo is pitching the unconventional construction as a way to expand Edmonton's stock of garage and garden suites.
The Edmonton company's new series of suites, built in a factory west of Stony Plain, can be installed on top of a new garage in just under a week.
The units range from $99,000 for a studio to $147,000 for a two-bedroom suite, with the added cost of about $25,000 for the new garage.
The first in the series will be on display in Churchill Square from June 3-5, before it's installed in Engleman's backyard in the Ritchie neighbourhood.
"Shipping containers, they're a highly structural material, but they can be beautiful," Engleman said. "You get a living space that's totally open to the outdoors. It's nice and bright and open.
"We want people to come down and have a look and see what we're all about."
Engleman says these compact apartments will help curb urban sprawl and create more affordable housing.
They're also durable, and more efficient than regular construction.
"Shipping containers are basically made to be impermeable. They can fall off a ship and actually float for a week, they are so air and water tight," Engleman said. "Compared to a wood construction it's night and day. This is a steel construction, it protects itself from the elements. These containers are built to last a very long time."
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The city changed its bylaws last year to allow for garage and garden suites on any lot larger than 400 square meters. That includes almost every lot in the city, but fewer than 40 applications have been filed.
Engelman said by streamlining the process, they hope to encourage more homeowners to take advantage of the trend, one that's seen the company field calls from around the globe.
"We've actually had thousands of inquiries in the last month, since we've gone live with our website," Engleman said. "It seems as though there's a real cultural shift happening, where people are more interested in quality of space than quantity of space."