Construction costs are rising rapidly, and in Southern California, those costs have made it difficult to bring new supply, particularly apartments, to the market. On potential solution: shipping containers. It make sense. With proximity to the largest ports in North America, Southern California has a surplus of empty shipping containers, making them easily accessible and affordable. These are quickly becoming a popular construction material among forward-thinking developers.

“Shipping containers are relatively affordable, and because we are in Southern California, there is a real ease of access,” Michael Bohn, senior principal at Studio One Eleven, tells “We import a lot more than we export, and we end up having a lot more of these things laying around than we need. It is cheaper to leave them here than it is to put them on a ship and send them back to their point of origin. As we trade more, the amount in Southern California is exponentially growing. That creates an opportunity for us to use them in an affordable way for our developments.”

The reduced construction costs are the biggest benefit of the shipping containers. Bohn says that the cost is 10% to 15% less that traditional construction methods. This, however, isn’t the biggest benefit. “The big proponent for using shipping containers is the construction schedule,” he explains. “Because the containers are offsite, improvements can be made offsite in advance. Traditionally, when you build something, you build the foundation, then the walls, then roof and the finishes. Because the containers are already done offsite, they can do a lot of work in advance of them coming to the site. What that allows is that when they do come to the site, they speed up the project schedule by about 40%, which is phenomenal.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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