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Nashville planning retail district made from 21 shipping containers

Cambridge Holdings’ oneC1TY project will include a block of repurposed shipping containers.

December 02, 2014 |
Renderings of how shipping containers will form a 12,000-sf retail district call

OneC1TY, a healthcare- and technology-focused community under construction on 18.7 acres near Nashville, Tenn., will include a mini retail district made from 21 shipping containers, the first time in this market containers have been repurposed for such use. 

The 8x40-foot containers, which are being supplied by New York-based SG Blocks, will coalesce into 8,000 sf of retail selling space, with another 4,000 sf of metal roofing between the containers. The containers will sit on concrete piers, and there will be space underneath their foundations for the installation of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC equipment. A wood deck connecting the containers “will help make everything flush,” says Ryan Doyle, oneC1TY’s general manager. He estimates the containers’ buildout will cost about $2 million. 

The Nashville Post reported that Avo, a natural food restaurant, is the first announced tenant for the repurposed container space, which is being called C1TYblox.

C1TYblox should be completed by year’s end. (A local contractor, The Carter Group, is handling the construction.) Cambridge Holdings, this project’s developer, expects C1TYblox to be operational up to the final phase of oneC1TY’s buildout, which is expected to take a couple of years.



The oneC1TY project, with an estimated cost of $400 million, will have eight permanent buildings with 1 million sf of commercial, residential, research, and retail space for heathcare, life sciences and technology sectors. The first building—a four-story, 125,000-sf office space—is under construction, and two other buildings have been permitted. All of the permanent buildings will have retail on the first floor.

Doyle says the main advantages of using containers for the retail district are their flexibility and sustainability. For example, their modular interior design can be adjusted as different retail tenants move in and out. “That increases the investment life of the property,” he explains.

C1TYblox is a bit of a departure for Dallas-based Cambridge Holdings, which specializes in healthcare facilities. But Doyle says that oneC1TY represents an expansion of Cambridge’s portfolio into developing communities that promote healthy lifestyles. (It hopes to attract fitness-related retailers as tenants.) Cambridge is looking for opportunities to place similar, smaller, concepts in large cities like Dallas.

The interior design for this project includes commercial kitchens, bathrooms with showers, and a community conference center “that will be tricked out with the latest technology,” says Doyle. The campus will also include ample green space and recreational areas such as volleyball courts.


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