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Shipping containers stacked for 7,000 sq ft of Ballpark office space

Ryan Diggins is taking recycling to a new level with a project that will convert old shipping containers into office space for small businesses.

Diggins, a principal at Gravitas Development Group, has acquired 28 solid-steel shipping containers he will stack to form the structure at 25th and Larimer in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood.

The containers, which measure 40 feet by 8 feet and 20 feet by 8 feet, were used to transport goods from overseas, but after they’re unloaded they are not reused, so Diggins saw an opportunity to create a building that will have about 7,000 square feet of leasable space.

“It’s like playing with Legos with these shipping containers,” he says. “We’re trying to stack them in ways that are interesting from an architecture standpoint.”

Diggins hopes to break ground on the project in December. When completed, the structure will house up to 12 small businesses and retailers that will enhance and anchor the neighborhood.

Diggins declined to disclose how much Gravitas is investing in the project or what the spaces will lease for.

Diggins was inspired to use shipping containers after seeing several overseas projects including London’s Boxpark, the world’s first pop-up mall. Areas that have been struck by natural disasters also are ideal locations for structures built of shipping containers.

“They’re suited for a community that wants retail back in a hurry,” Diggins says.

Founded in 2008, Gravitas has invested more than $16.5 million in Denver’s urban neighborhoods, including LoHi, West Highland, Ballpark and Wash Park West. Projects include Boardwalk 31; five single-family homes at West 31st Avenue and Irving Street; and an 11,000-square-foot office and retail building at West 32nd Avenue and Irving that houses Pinche Taqueria and Orange Theory Fitness.

“We focus on urban-infill sites and eclectic projects,” Diggins said. “We don’t really have a blueprint on the type of projects we do.”

Read more articles by Margaret Jackson.

Margaret is a veteran Denver real estate reporter and can be contacted here.
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