City P&Z board approves permit for shipping container hotel project
The downtown square could see a new development after a special use permit was approved by the City of Graham Planning and Zoning Board for a hotel using outfitted shipping containers. The project was brought before the board Monday by Matt Hughes, who purchased the properties at 509 and 511 Fourth St. from the Graham Industrial Association.
The board authorized a special use permit for 509 Fourth St. for the outfitted container hotel project which will also have a courtyard area with a food pod which would be publicly accessible. The hotel rooms are planned to be in 16 separate shipping containers with eight stacked on the bottom and eight on top in the empty lot. Several of the containers on the bottom floor will also be required to be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Hughes said he wanted to renovate the front of the 511 Fourth St. building and tie the design into the empty lot to make the focal point the two properties together. Development would be mostly on the empty lot on 509 Fourth St. where the shipping containers will sit.
“The majority of development would be on the open lot,” Hughes said. “The existing building (at 511 Fourth St.), the side of the building was burned, (and) would need (...) to get fixed (with) some updates to shore up that wall, do a facelift on the front and then I’d like to put, to complement the food area, a small bar down on the first floor of that building.”
Hughes said his intention with the project is to make the rooms have a checkout kiosk at the food or bar area where a code could be emailed or texted to let the occupants inside. The entrance to each shipping container is planned to have a primarily glass door, and parking for the hotel will be on the inside of the square. Graham City Manager Brandon Anderson spoke at the meeting Monday about how the city was at first hesitant due to possible building code restrictions.
“In our original discussions, we were concerned about (...), per the building code, whether or not the containers would be allowed. But (...) since we’ve studied into this they are allowed,” he said. “We were concerned about the insulation in meeting the energy code because the containers are corrugated walls. And so the installation will be four inches deep (and) in some places only two inches. But we’ve also found out that since they are self contained, that’s not an issue either. More than anything, (...) we want people to know that this is something new that’s coming to Graham. (...) But what we really hope to see is something will actually materialize and actually truly come to our square. Matt’s vision is really neat, Matt’s passion for it is really neat, and I think it’s gonna be a positive project to be on our square.”
A bar is being considered on the property which would be around 1,000-1,200 square feet. Hughes said he will use revenue generated by the hotel and the bar area to try to fund the full renovation of the property at 511 Fourth St. The food pod will serve hamburgers and chips and be something that can be picked up quick from a small location. He said ultimately the choice of shipping containers was due to two factors.
For the rest of the story, see the Dec. 18 edition of The Graham Leader.