Shipping containers approved in Lakeland, FL


Sparkman Wharf | Photo via @edry_day

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Back in July, we asked you if you thought shipping containers would work in Lakeland. With almost 400 responses, 75% of you voted that you would like to see this come to fruition somewhere in town. Earlier this week, the city commission approved the use of shipping containers throughout the city — try to contain your excitement.


Boxi Park, Lake Nona | Photo via @thefloridacomeback

The containers will act as accessories to existing structures for food, retail, and small-scale hydroponic farming. They may also be utilized for tiny homes, mobile home parks, or multi-family zoning districts.

In terms of local business, the goal of the shipping containers would allow existing businesses to expand + would allow smaller businesses to launch, without the risks associated with high startup costs.

For the housing option, this is part of the overall solution the city has been searching for to address the affordable housing shortage in Lakeland.


Boxi Park, Lake Nona | Photo via @thefloridacomeback

Regardless of how they’re used, the containers must be constructed on a permanent foundation with guidelines in line with the Florida code. Tiny homes constructed from these materials must include windows, doors, stucco, and more, to ensure they’re up to par for residential use. In this case, the dwellings would have to be approved by a conditional use process.

To read up on what to expect, check out the city’s agenda study here.


Would a shipping container alley work in Lakeland? Let us explain.

We caught wind of a shipping container plaza coming to Delray Beach which will boast restaurants, shopping, a dog park, and even an event space, all contained in 15-30 reclaimed shipping containers.


Boxi Park, Lake Nona | Photo via @thefloridacomeback

And, this concept popped up not too far from Lakeland, in Tampa’s Channelside district as Sparkman Wharf, and in the other direction at Lake Nona’s Boxi Park. This begs the question — If shipping container districts find success in cities sandwiching Swan City, would one work in Lakeland, or at least Polk County?

In the instance of Sparkman Wharf, the shipping container district compliments other local food halls, such as Armature Works, and the Hall on Franklin, providing a change in aesthetic to the area, the promotion of local eateries and vendors, as well as launching a revitalization to a once-dwindling district.


A meal from Flock and Stock at Sparkman Wharf | Photo via @jillicious_tampabay

Would you like to see something like this come to Lakeland + if so, where? Vote below.


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