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Container home causing stir in west El Paso neighborhood

By Darren Hunt, DHuntabc7@yahoo.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:13:53 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 11:02:13 PM CST

ABC-7's Darren Hunt reports.

EL PASO, Texas -

They're called container homes, built from steel shipping containers, and over the objections of some, the first one in El Paso is currently being built in the middle of a West Side neighborhood.

The home is located in the 6200 block of Fiesta Drive, off of Balboa and just south of Mesa Street, where storm 2006 damaged some homes beyond repair, leaving several empty lots in the area.

ABC-7 spoke with neighbors and the president of the company building the unusual home.

The home is built out of 4 shipping containers and is causing quite the stir in the neighborhood. Although it's the first, it's not going to be the last.

"I had seen people doing it in the rest of the world and nobody was doing it in El Paso, so I wanted to take a stab at it," said Tracy McIntyre, president of "Sun City Built," a new company that plans to build several containers homes in El Paso. "It's 930 square feet, about the same size as the rest of the homes in this area, but it will be a lot more energy efficient than the rest of the homes in the area. So it looks a little bit different when it's finished, but it's not going to be a lot different."
McIntyre called it a very industrial look.

"We get about three or four people a day stop and talk to us about it and about 70 percent are all for it and 30 percent are on the fence or against it," McIntyre said.

"There's always going to be pros and cons to every project, but hopefully we'll have more people like it than don't like it."

ABC-7 knocked on at least a dozen doors in the neighborhood. Some of the people were confused, others thought it was pretty cool and others were completely against it.

"I think it's an abomination," said neighbor Jonathan Schwind. "I'd like to know how the hell they got away with it."

Schwind said he thinks it will hurt his property value.

"Wouldn't it hurt yours?" he said.

Other neighbors had a lot of questions.

"Honestly, it doesn't (bother me)," said Alex Salinas, who lives down the block. "If someone wants to make their home out of whatever they want, by all means."

Other neighbors thought it was unique.

"It's really cool," said Darrel Miller, who lives right across the street. "Fact is you can see these type of small structures anywhere on the Internet nowadays."
Down the street, Erron Reid said he hadn't made up his mind.

"We saw it and we were like, 'What are they doing over there?'" Reid said. "They had some containers and we were like, 'OK, they've got to be moving something there," and then we started seeing windows on there and we were like, 'Wait a minute, that's a little bit different.' I'm up in the air about it, but I'm looking forward to what they do."

McIntyre, who says he has all the right permits from the City, wouldn't share the cost of building this home, which he hopes to rent. He's planning several others off of Durazno, where he also owns land.

The City Development department put out this statement in response to the container homes:

"This may be the first of its kind for the El Paso housing market, but across the country, an increasing number of developers are using storage containers ... While we realize shipping containers may not make for the most traditional home, it does offer a low-cost and efficient option to home builders looking for innovative ideas for a home."

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