8 min read

March 19, 2024 | Shipping container homes are here + more innovative housing

March 19, 2024 | Shipping container homes are here + more innovative housing

Hey Locals,

If you're dreaming of a shipping container home in Fort Wayne, you might be in luck. The city is partnering with a crew of local and national talent to build the first one here – and it could lead to more innovative, diversified housing stock across our community.

We also answer a reader question about a new children's hospital in the works with Parkview Health and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and we clue you into plans for The Fairfield, a multipurpose event center under construction with golf, bowling and more!

Don't forget: This month, all paid subscribers get a FREE appetizer (not beer) at Chapman's new location at Electric Works. (We had to adjust our deal due to state laws.) You can gain access to our monthly freebies (and our premium newsletter) with a paid membership. And guess what? You can get that app with this 30-day free trial.

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If you're dreaming of a shipping container home in Fort Wayne, you might be in luck...

We have insights on a crew building four modern, sustainable homes to spice up local housing stock – and make homeownership more attainable.

A rendering of a shipping container home by Three Squared Inc.

What's happening?

Last week, a new local company called Royal Developments LLC broke ground on an Innovative Housing Showcase in collaboration with the City of Fort Wayne and other local and national partners. The crew will prototype four modern, attainable housing types just East of Downtown on Wayne and Berry streets:

  1. A shipping container home by Three Squared Inc., a (Detroit-based) architecture firm known for its internet-famous container homes and Cargo Architecture expertise.
  2. A digitally fabricated house by HOUM (also Detroit-based), which Co-Founder Breck Crandell describes as a computer-designed house that makes an architect's eye more accessible to the masses via software he and his co-founder created. "It's kind of like artificial intelligence (that designs unique homes) based on the information and context we give it — like where the sun is, where you access the building and what's next to it," he says. (Crandall is also Director of Design for Three Squared.)
  3. A New Energy Home (Nappanee, Ind.-based) that promises to "eliminate at least half of your energy costs" with carefully selected building materials and unique structural design.
  4. A Volumod (Indianapolis-based) modular home that's customizable and cost-effective, reducing build times by 30-50 percent.

These homes will be complete in October and shared with the public on tours – before being sold to owners via Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fort Wayne. But they're likely to impact the local housing market in many ways.

Perhaps most notably: since the project team received a zoning code variance to build Fort Wayne's first shipping container home, it could result in the code being updated for others to follow suit.

So how did this all come about? Lots of local collaboration! Royal Developments LLC's owner (Auburn-area resident JT King) previously worked for Granite Ridge Builders and also in Uganda (building a shipping container food hall), before returning to Fort Wayne and starting his company. He teamed up with Neighborhood Planner for the City, Réna Bradley (a former Detroit-based architect) who helped plan a trip to the Motor City for local leaders to learn about innovative housing. This resulted prototyping houses here to diversify the local market. (The interiors of the homes will be designed by Fort Wayne's own Hanford Home Interiors, a newsletter subscriber who clued us into the project!)

Why it matters

We explore housing market data and insights in our premium newsletter, available with a 30-day free trial.

  • The Fairfield shared long-awaited plans for its new multi-purpose activity center at 1510 Fairfield Ave. via social media. Calling itself "your new local hotspot," the massive black building under construction between Parkview Field and Electric Works will have a third floor wedding and events venue for up to 400 guests, a second floor luxury golf simulator with a full bar and pro shop, and a main floor duckpin bowling experience with a full restaurant/bar and bocce ball. Opening is TBA, but it's already offering hard hat tours for events in late-2024 and 2025. We're speaking with the owners to learn more. Follow them @thefairfieldfw for updates.
  • Rune Restaurant by James Beard Foundation Award-nominee Executive Chef Sean Richardson opens March 29 and is now taking reservations. Hours will be Friday-Saturday 5 p.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday-Monday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with brunch service Sunday-Monday. Rune will offer a full bar and ever-changing seasonal menu, utilizing foraged goods in partnership with certified forager Carrie Vrabel of Wild Edible Indiana. It will also focus on work-life balance for employees, instituted by Richardson (who named the restaurant for his son Rune). It's opening in the former Trubble Brewing space on Broadway, which closed last year. We'll have details on Rune's menu, space and must-try items next week!

Plus: DORA District details, a tax abatement debate, local animal euthanizations and more. Read about these local stories in our premium newsletter.

What's happening with Parkview Health's collaboration with Cincinnati Children's Hospital?

We answer a reader question on the expanding partnership, which could result in a new local pediatric hospital.

What's happening?

Parkview Health recently announced it's expanding a partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which may result in a new dedicated pediatric hospital in Fort Wayne. So far: Parkview employs more than 20 pediatric specialists and has expanded its telehealth collaboration with Cincinnati Children’s, so local patients and families can consult experts there in pediatric neurosurgery, rheumatology, preventive cardiology and drug-resistant epilepsy.

A reader reached out to us with questions about the potential new facility: "Do they have a timeline? Where would the new hospital be located? How much are they looking to fundraise?"

We asked Parkview's media department, which responded that they could not share additional details at this time. But say: Cincinnati Children’s and Parkview Health are dedicated to providing high-quality pediatric care close to home. We are in the early stages of analyzing this expanded partnership and look forward to sharing details in the future.

Here's what we can deduce from The JG's report so far:

  • Cost: Parkview "cannot confirm the potential cost of the new facility," but the project "will require philanthropic support... such as donations to a capital campaign."
  • Location: The new facility will be on the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus. "Parkview owns 340 acres at the northeast corner of Interstate 69 and Dupont Road.... About 25% is undeveloped, and health system officials believe additional property will not be required."
  • Timeline: Not much information is available here. But the two organizations will "continue to evaluate the feasibility of a pediatric hospital," and we'll report back when we know more.

Why it matters

  • Improving healthcare and employment: Parkview is Fort Wayne's largest employer and healthcare system, and Cincinnati Children’s is ranked No. 1 among the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. A new facility between the two could improve local care and make the city more attractive to pediatric healthcare talent.
  • Economics: Currently, Fort Wayne is about 180 miles from Cincinnati Children’s, making it a hike for local families to visit. Plus, Cincinnati Children's sees patients from all 50 states and dozens of countries. Having comparable facilities closer to home could save locals time and bring the benefits of visitor traffic and dollars here.
  • Financing: Parkview technically has nonprofit status, making it eligible for philanthropic support. But The New York Times has also singled it out nationally as a "rich hospital," making it interesting to watch how the finances of this partnership will shake out.... (In May of 2019, The New York Times also accused Parkview of charging patients some of the highest prices in the country, which Parkview has disputed.)

Stay tuned for details!

Photo of the week: A rainbow and storm clouds color Downtown Fort Wayne wonderful in a photo by Mike Durbin Photography.
  • Learn: how to make margs from scratch at a Margarita Masterclass ($65/person) by Mercado on March 24 at 12:30 p.m. "Included are: mercado margarita, top shelf margarita, tequila flight, unlimited apps, and a world class learning experience."
  • Watch: "The American Society of Magical Negroes" at Cinema Center on March 21 at 7 p.m. directed and written by Fort Wayne's own Kobi Libii (now in Hollywood), offering a fresh perspective on identity, race, and society with comedic relief, followed by a live Q&A with Libii.
  • Shop: Beautiful Things FW boutique now open at its new location at 6634 W. Jefferson Blvd. – and don't miss its new casual menswear corner, The Den, for fellas.

What else? We recommend more things to do in our premium newsletter. Try it out with a 30-day free trial.

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Have a great week, Locals!

-Your Editor, Kara Hackett