NORTH ST. LOUIS ( – There’s a restaurant made of shipping containers, and a soon-to-open brewery, but nestled in Old North St. Louis, the beginnings of the first container house in the City of St. Louis are underway.

Travis and Gina Sheridan fell in love with the neighborhood just north of downtown five years ago.

“We saw this lot with the view down 14th street, with the picturesque view of the Arch and said ‘wow what if we build a house here?,’” Travis Sheridan said.

Now, that dream is becoming a reality. Over the weekend, contractors stacked nine shipping containers on a long vacant lot and the process to weld them together and create a home is already taking shape.

The three-level, 3,000 square-foot home will feature three bedrooms, a balcony overlooking the Arch, a kitchen and living area, plus a car port.

“Doing it here in Old North, especially right down the street from Crown Candy, where people line up every day of the week hopefully they will see this and see there are people investing in places like Old North ,” said Sheridan.

The prime corner lot was owned by the LRA and has sat vacant since the early 1980s. The Sheridan’s bought it and, while they looked at building a more traditional home, it was cost-prohibitive. They were intrigued by the container home built by Zack Smithey in St. Charles.

The Sheridan’s hope it inspires others to build on the vacant land in St. Louis. The property did not have to get approval from the Preservation Board because Old North is not a local historic district. It does have to meet all city building codes and Sheridan said it's even tornado-safe 

Dan Krasnoff, the director of the Cultural Resource Office who oversees the Preservation Board, said only about 10 percent of the city falls in the local historic districts.

The Preservation Board is in the process of drafting a new policy for new construction that would allow for more unconventional builds.

“The purpose of the new standards is to allow for the development of more contemporary building designs like container houses and figure out what the best sort of situation would be to have those buildings built,” said Krasnoff.

Krasnoff said it would be more difficult to build a container home in some place like Soulard compared to Old North, but they are evaluating all options. The draft of the new policy will be presented for public comment on October 22.

Sheridan said they hope to have their new home completed by December and hope it sparks a new way of home ownership in the city.

“I would say this is tying into the history of St. Louis but we can’t be anchored in our past be it building, or bad policy or racism. We can’t be anchored in the past if we’re going to look to the future,” he said.


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