Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Project gets rolling, “the Urban Porch”

Project gets rolling


Almost 10 million square feet of office space is being built in North Texas.

But Fort Worth architect Matthijs Melchiors can safely say that the small office park he’s starting construction on next week will be something totally different.

Melchiors’ project, just south of downtown Fort Worth, uses old shipping containers.
Those metal boxes you see on rail cars and cargo ships are being repurposed into creative office space.

“The idea started about a year ago when we were driving through a neighborhood
of Fort Worth poised for new development but currently underdeveloped,” Melchiors said. “We found some property for sale.”

The three-story, 15,000square-foot office project is being constructed with 40 shipping containers on a vacant block. The sturdy steel containers are bolted together, and windows, doors and stairs are added.

Each of the offices in the Connex Office Park will be about 160 square feet and start at $850 a month.

Along with the workspace, the project will offer tenants meeting rooms, conference space and a gathering area that the developer is calling “the Urban Porch.”

The project will be powered with solar panels and wind turbines.
“My affinity with using recycled materials goes back a long time,” Melchiors said. “Having grown up in the Netherlands, I grew up with the idea of being sustainable and mindful of our environment.

“We try to incorporate as much recycled materials as possible,” he said. “It is all about sustainability.”

More than a half-dozen of the 30 or so office spaces have already been spoken for.

The city of Fort Worth has agreed to provide more than $80,000 in tax increment finance district funding for the unique development.

While planning the pocket office park, the builders traveled to the Netherlands to see a student housing complex in Amsterdam constructed out of the same type of shipping containers.


Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News