By Associated Press - Monday, March 2, 2020

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas businessman plans to develop affordable housing units from the large shipping containers that are normally used to transport merchandise.

A 10-unit housing park made with the containers was expected to be unveiled Monday in downtown Las Vegas, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Share Village, a nonprofit group dedicated to creating affordable housing and helping veterans, plans to build about 50 more units, with at least 10 reserved for veterans, said the group’s CEO, Arnold Stalk.

Stalk’s vision for the project dates to the 1980s, when the cruise ship he was traveling on docked in Mexico and he saw shipping containers stacked in the port.

“I call it the Instant Built House,” Stalk said. “It’s a cookie-cutter. I think it’s an absolute prototype of what can be done with affordable housing and the whole road map is there for anybody who wants to develop it.”

The units are powered by solar panels and have efficient toilets that grind waste and push it to the sewage system. They have cook tops, refrigerators and microwaves and come with furniture and bedding. There is also a laundry facility on the site.

The units also can be picked up by forklift and shipped overnight, Stalk said.

The units come in two sizes and cost $27,000 and $37,000, respectively, to purchase and renovate. City permits cost another $10,000 per unit, Stalk said.

The monthly rental cost for larger units of 320 square feet (30 square meters) is expected to be $650 including utilities while smaller units are 160 square feet (15 square meters) and cost $550 monthly.

Tenants with federally subsidized housing vouchers would pay 30% of their income toward rent.

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