The Churchill continues trend of shipping container developments

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An artist rendering of the vision of The Churchill shipping containers. (Courtesy of The Churchill)

The Churchill, a new development built completely out of repurposed shipping containers,  is hoping to create a community-driven marketplace full of local businesses when it opens this spring.

The 14,000 square foot development made out of 19 repurposed shipping crates will be located at the intersection of First and Garfield streets. Co-founders Kell Duncan of Duncan Family Farms and Hartley Roadie are teaming up with Local Studios to construct the development.

“Shipping containers are cool,” says Roadie. “Whether in art, architecture, food, or otherwise, I think people are drawn to things that they don’t see every day.”

The Churchill will be the first marketplace in the Phoenix area designed completely out of repurposed shipping crates, but will join other shipping container developments near downtown. Shipping container apartment complexes The Oscar and Containers on Grand opened near downtown during the past three years and started the new trend of shipping crate developments.

“It’s sustainable because there’s a ton of [shipping crates] around,” Duncan said.

The Churchill, named after the Evans Churchill community where the development resides, will serve as a community gathering spot housing 10 small local businesses from across Phoenix including Pedal Haus brewery, clothing company State Forty Eight and the first brick and mortar location of Freak Brothers Pizza. 

“We came across this opportunity to open up in downtown Phoenix and it really came from the fact that so many people who’ve had our pizza at our events have asked where our locations at and we don’t have one,” said Nathan Coury, co-owner of the pizza joint.

The crates will be built along the outside of the space creating a courtyard for seating. Entrances will be located in front of an alley area off Garfield Street as well as on First Street to accommodate more people and keep the area as open as possible.

“I think in our dream scenario, The Churchill will be a place where people know they can support honest, ethical, local small businesses and have fun doing it,” said Roadie.

Businesses in the development are encouraged to be community focused and host community-driven events in addition to doing volunteer work as a part of their “social rent” requirement.

“Each business is required to complete four hours of community service each month as a part of their lease,” Roadie said.

The Churchill will have a monthly fundraising event to support one of their 10 charity partners with weekly sign-ups for anyone who wants to be more involved in the community.

“It really makes us easy and more approachable as well for people that want to volunteer but don’t know how to get started,” Duncan said.

Coury said Freak Brothers Pizza was drawn to the development’s community focus and cooperative energy when deciding to open a brick and mortar location as a part of the project.

“What we loved about this project was that it was very community based, cooperative type of energy,” said Coury. “This space will help us to do more than just feed people food, it’ll help us to nourish them body, mind, and soul and that’s really our bigger mission.”

The Churchill began construction in November and is planning to open in late spring.

Contact the reporter at smedwar7@asu.edu.

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