What do you do with old shipping containers once used to carry dry cargo to its destination by ship, train and truck?

Well, you can renovate them, find a location and rent them out as retail spaces without long-term lease commitments.

In Portland, developer Jed Harris of Cotton Street Holdings LLC won city approval to set up five containers at the corner of Washington Avenue and Marrion Street, on a lot formerly occupied by a single-family home.

The retail spaces each measure 40 feet long, 8 feet wide and nearly 10 feet tall, totaling 320 square feet. The project cost was estimated to be only about $150,000.

Although the container setup is a first for Portland, inexpensive recycled shipping containers have increasingly been used in commercial and residential construction elsewhere. There are plenty of lightly used containers available in the resale market for less than $2,000 each.

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