TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The owners of a home currently under construction in Tampa Heights are building their dream house from shipping containers.
It's a popular new style of home building and design that will now make its mark in the middle of the neighborhood's historic bungalows.
For Bill Schwalbe, building a new house meant thinking inside the box.
“With city lots in Tampa, to get the style or the type of house I wanted, I had to think creatively,” he explained.
He’s working with Sundog Structures to build his house on Tampa Street. T activity is drawing some attention from neighbors.
“That's when I went online and I looked at some of their container buildings. And they seem, by the models, they look nice. But I'd be curious to see what that ends up looking like,” said neighbor David Jones.
Wesley Osborne, president of Sundog, said they bring in containers that have only been used once.
“They're almost like life-sized [LEGO blocks], so we can build in a quick and efficient manner,” said Osborne.
The company transforms the all-metal containers into a finished, modern house.
“The only restrictions we would have in any way is if there's some type of design overlay, like a specific design requirement that we have to meet,” said Osborne, who added that the house can be covered with different types of siding to look more traditional.
Tampa Heights is not technically a historic district, so Schwalbe has no limits on his home’s final look. The renderings for his house show a modern house with some nods to its container shell. He shared how he thinks his home fits into the neighborhood.
“I think that it's part of this type of community because this is a transient community where all new things are coming along here,” said Schwalbe.
He believes his house could add creativity to future buildings.
“With Armature Works, with Ulele being right down the street, we just have to embrace that change is coming to the city,” said Schwalbe.
Osborne said developers are interested in working with Sundog to build multi-family houses, workforce housing or affordable homes for veterans. Sundog has even met with the city to see how it could work, but they say that’s a move farther down the line.
“We are very interested in looking to get the designs to where we can do them in a large scale,” said Osborne. “Working with the city of Tampa and being able to develop a larger parcel, we can get those numbers to where they need to be for that efficient price point.”
The price for one of the custom container homes averages around $150 per-square-foot and Osborne said it can look as much or as little like a shipping container as the homeowner wants.