IDA at McKinley is the tallest shipping container tower in North America

Oscar the Grouch isn’t the only one who likes to live in a metal box. Some Phoenix residents also have a taste for living in metal boxes stacked on top of one another.

Eighteen Phoenix families are preparing to move next week to IDA at McKinley, North America’s tallest tower made entirely of shipping containers, according to the developers.

The new six-story, mixed-use construction on McKinley and Third Street is a small step toward solving both the housing shortage and climate change crisis in Phoenix, according to the city.

The local studio based in downtown Phoenix, developer of America’s preeminent self-designed shipping container project, made jokes about “garbage projects” and offered Sesame Street Nod star in one of the german developments, theOSCAR in Portland and Second Street.

“We have delivered more container projects than anywhere else in the country,” said Kathleen Santin, co-developer. Phoenix New Times. “We’re trying to continue the story of the container in Phoenix.”

It all started with Containers on the Grand, an eight-unit housing project delivered in 2015 in the city’s Triangle neighborhood.

Now the intrepid company is set to launch its first-of-its-kind development in the Roosevelt neighborhood next week.

The Ida on McKinley project began in January 2021 in a dilapidated former parking lot with just enough space for 22 cars. Architects redesigned this piece of asphalt as the cornerstone of a multi-family housing project.

Santin says the local studio “changes hearts and minds one block at a time.”

For the past 16 months, tall cranes have been hanging over the miniature parcel next to the Cobra Arcade Bar, tossing cargo containers into place like Tetris blocks.

“We use every square inch of it,” Santin said.

Click to enlarge

IDA at McKinley, Phoenix-based Local Studio’s fifth sustainable residential project, is set to open next week.

William Legolon

Tenants demanded that each of the building’s 18 units be cut before the tape was cut, with more waiting in line to enter. The 2,400 square foot ground floor can accommodate two companies.

Each one-bedroom and two-bedroom unit ranges in size between 650 and 900 square feet and is for rent only. A one-bedroom unit will be rented for $1,685 per month and a two-bedroom space will be rented for $1,950. The developers are considering mortgaging the units to future residents.

Ida Ali McKinley, Local Studio’s fifth shipping container project in Metro Phoenix, used 66 recycled shipping containers totaling 615,000 pounds of reused steel. Each container, retrieved from shipping yards in Long Beach, California, is 40 feet long.

“It’s amazing to see how much was going to landfill,” Santin said. “Imagine the amount of waste a high-rise project generates.”

In 2018, the United States generated 455 million tons of construction waste and sent 145 million tons of it to landfills, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Local Studio seeks to reduce this number with its Phoenix developments.

“We change hearts and minds one block at a time.” – Kathleen Santin

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“Phoenix faces severe climate challenges and will be hit harder and faster than other cities in the United States,” said Brian Stark, founder of the local studio and chief architect. the new era. “Phoenix is ​​also a huge development city with very few developers taking action to change the way development is done.”

Shipping container structures are nothing new in Phoenix.

The Xico Arte y Cultura shipping container exhibition on Roosevelt Row has been relayed throughout the neighborhood since 2014. That’s when the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation received a $90,000 ArtPlace grant to develop living/working spaces for artists using repurposed shipping containers.

In 2018, the small, 9,000-square-foot Churchill Mall opened in the Roosevelt District. It is also developed by Local Studio.

in March , the new era It reported that Mesa-based home builder Luke Crosthwaite was building 26 shipping container homes on a sandy patch of land in South Phoenix. The pledge was, in part, a response to Arizona residents looking for alternatives to the overwhelming housing market for both home purchases and rentals. HGTV Show container homes These “little homes” were first promoted in 2016.

But the IDA on McKinley is different, not just because of his towering height.

“We decided to take a no-one-takes jump in downtown Phoenix,” Santin said.

Click to enlarge A unique solar prominence runs the length of the six-storey building and covers the pavement below in shade.  - William Legolon

A unique solar prominence runs the length of the six-storey building and covers the pavement below in shade.

William Legolon


The developer focused on sustainability is encasing the rooftop party deck with solar panels that will reduce the utility bill for people in the building.

The building also features a communal outdoor shower for those who go to work by bike, an electric bike charging station, refillable water stations, and a 3,000-gallon rainwater collection tank.

“The containers are already there,” Stark said. “Using them as a building material significantly reduces our carbon footprint.”

On that note, if you’re commuting to IDA on a McKinley, leave your car behind. There is no parking at 250 East McKinley Street.

The project followed in the footsteps of others such as Culdesac Tempe, the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the area in the heart of the East Valley.

Like Culdesac, IDA is positioned with easy access to the 28-mile Valley Metro line that connects Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa.

Residents will bike, walk to work and take the train, or connect an elevator to a sharing service or taxi to get to the rest of Greater Phoenix. In a city with three parking spaces per inhabitant, Santin said, “It is inconceivable that more people would not believe in public transportation.”

It’s a new path that has caught fire unexpectedly from what has been named The The New York Times as “the most car addictive city in America”.

“This will end up becoming a model for all future developments across the country,” said Nicole Pasteur, a spokeswoman for a local studio. “We are demonstrating that it is repeatable.”

City officials declined interview requests from the new era “Because McKinley’s IDA is a private project,” said Spencer Blake, spokesperson for the Department of Sustainability.

In planning and development documents submitted this month, the city described the new project as “eco-friendly” and “the first of its kind to open in Phoenix.”

The local studio hopes builders across the country will follow suit.

“We try to lead by example,” Santin said. We do not shout or walk. We are pretending.”

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