PALM CITY, Fla. (CBS12) — With the price of housing going through the roof in Florida, one company is getting creative to make living more affordable.
They’re also giving several convicts a second chance in society by employing several of them in various positions, mitigating the labor shortage.
Palm City-based company Containing Luxury is converting shipping containers into affordable living spaces, which are few and far between nowadays.
CBS12 Dylan Huberman speaks to a company in Palm City about converting shipping containers into homes.< >
Founder and CEO Blake Madgett tells CBS12 News that more creativity and quality was needed in affordable housing.
“It’s just not affordable, there’s no solutions for affordable housing down here. So, we need to find hurricane-rated products, which makes it even more expensive to build," he told CBS12 News. "That’s where we came up with this idea that it needed to be built in a controlled environment in mass production.”
The company buys the containers from brokers for approximately $5,000-$7,000, cleans them, works on them inside and out, and sells them.
Their 20-foot units can sell as cheaply as $35,000 each, while fully decked out 40-foot units capable of solar or electric power can go around $90,000 - and can be shipped anywhere on a flatbed.
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Madgett says a church mission trip to Costa Rica inspired the whole idea.
“When I came back, I immediately fired all of my clients," he recalled. "I built high-end luxury homes, Prada, Starbucks and I started focusing on finding solutions for affordable housing.”
In the process, the company gives felons a chance to change their lives.
Daniel Collins, a Fort Pierce native who played in the Atlanta Braves organization, spent 10 years in prison, battled drug addiction and even homelessness.
Now, he’s the sales director at Containing Luxury.
“It’s just been amazing, you know, having the opportunity to run the social media, you know, market, sales, I’m just extremely grateful. It’s changed my life,” Collins said Friday.
Collins says working on affordable housing is an ideal career for him and the other former inmates that work at the company.
“Affordable housing, you know, people who are integrating back into society, and my platform of what I try to do to help people, and it was just like ‘okay, this was like the perfect marriage, like the perfect match,” he remarked.
Madgett heaped praise on Collins, who rose through the ranks since he came on board in December.
“Danny’s been a perfect example of, you know, who’s out there, diamonds in the rough,” he shared.
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Madgett says they’re averaging a hire a week over the last few months and with the increase in staffing, the company is well-equipped to make an impact on the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee County.
Although the company was only founded last year, their work is already getting noticed well beyond the Treasure Coast.
This week, Madgett appeared on the Start Engine Pitch Competition with Mr. Wonderful - Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary - and Chief Marketing Officer Johanna Cronin.
There, O’Leary declared Containing Luxury the winner of the pitch competition.
“It’s got to be Blake, Containing Lux(ury)," O'Leary said in the YouTube video of the pitch competition, which he posted on his page.
“Amazing," Cronin echoed as Blake celebrated. “Blake is leaving the room,” she said with a laugh.
“It had all the elements of a great presentation, a massive addressable market and I love the idea,” O'Leary added on.
Madgett now gets a one-on-one with Start Engine’s CEO and has the potential for funding from the company’s sponsors.