New Detroit Restaurant Development to Use Shipping Containers as Housing

Entrepreneurs are constantly on the cusp of innovation, trying to come up with new, better, and unique ways of doing things to attract business. A group of restaurateurs is doing just that, in fact, in the Cass and Peterboro area of Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Metro Times recently profiled James Therkalsen, Jonathan Hartzell, and Timothy Tharp, who are creating a new restaurant development made almost entirely out of large steel shipping containers.

The new development, made from 19-foot former freight boxes, will be known as ShipYard Detroit and will be an 11,600 square-foot, two-level space once completed. The owners believe it will be big enough to house five different restaurant venues, two bars, a pop-up gallery, a communal dining area, and a huge television for sports broadcasts.

ShipYard Detroit will also have enough room to host live performances, according to its owners.

“I’m looking for owner/operators who can transition with their food seasonally, and as trends change, they’ll pick and choose different [menu items],” said Hartzell, who is co-CEO for the project.

The founders are hoping the end product will be “elevated street food” vendors somewhere in between the quality found at a food truck and a casual sit-down spot. This idea of so-called food halls is becoming increasingly popular across the country, but this project is among the first to create such a unique space.

Whose behind the design for this project? Architectural firm Independent Arch and engineering company Three Squared are credited with the project’s creation. Three Squared has some prior experience with using shipping containers to create unique spaces; they were the ones behind the condos made of empty container condos in North Corktown.

ShipYard Detroit’s founders are hoping the project will be open in July.

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