Developers plan homes using shipping containers on South Side

The 12-home project in Greater Grand Crossing relies on a technique that speeds construction and keeps costs down.

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A rendering shows a model of a home built with shipping containers proposed for 7231 S. Vincennes Ave.

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Homes made from shipping containers could be built and ready to occupy next year on a vacant stretch of the South Side, developers said Wednesday.

Darryl Burton and Anthony Casboni, partners in the project, plan 12 of the homes on land Casboni’s family has owned for years at 7231 S. Vincennes Ave. in Greater Grand Crossing. They said the development, using 8-by-40-foot containers that ordinarily hold products shipped overseas, will be the first of its kind inside the city.

If the project draws buyers, Burton and Casboni said they might try something bigger, possibly building 120 container homes in Ford Heights. They said they are talking with officials in the southern suburb about acquiring land for the project at 12th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The Chicago project had been on hold pending approval by city officials. But Burton said he has received word that architectural plans for the $2.4 million development have been approved. Construction permits could be issued by March, he said.

“If the city approved it today, we could start tomorrow,” he said. The project promises an affordable and eco-friendly route to home ownership, and with customizable designs. City officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

For what’s being marketed as Vincennes Village, the developers are offering three- and four-bedroom homes priced from $300,000, including one- or two-car garages, a balcony, covered patio and a washer and dryer. Burton said there’s another plan for a two-bedroom home starting at $130,000. He said some homes may be rented with an option to buy.

The developers said the homes can be built in about four months, or half the time it takes to put up a standard single-family home. Depending on the size, each home in their plan can consist of from two to six containers.

Container homes have been popularized overseas and in some U.S. locations, including Detroit. But they have been slow to come to the Chicago area, with limited examples in St. Charles and Westmont.

Casboni said using the containers for the home’s shell lowers costs while still producing a comfortable space.

“It’s a very fast build with this innovative technique. The homes are structurally sound and durable,” he said.

Once the containers are in place, foam insulation is applied before interior walls are finished.

Word of the project began spreading last summer. Burton said the partnership quickly accumulated a list of more than 3,000 potential buyers.

Although inflation and higher mortgage rates have slowed the housing market, Burton said his project enjoys an advantage.

“Construction contractors have been calling us and are competing for our business,” he said.

Burton owns Global Financial Services and has negotiated financing for residential and commercial construction. Casboni is a retired firefighter who has owned businesses and land on the South Side.

The property formerly had his family’s Vincennes Discount Center, which closed in 2001. Casboni has built seven conventional homes on part of the land.

The developers said they have gotten financing from Commercial Credit Corp. in Lombard. For the designs, they said they have used Steven Flum, a Michigan-based architect known for his work with container homes, and Victor Simpkins of ONYX Architectural Services in Chicago.

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A rendering of another version of a shipping container home.

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