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Container Art: Using Cargo Containers for Development

Art-Tech Hub
Adam Kaye's Art-Tech Hub will be built using 56 cargo containers.

Adam Kaye
Adam Kaye
When Adam Kaye set his sights on creating a project for Tallahassee's creative-class entrepreneurs, his architect, Craig Huffman, went shopping for 56 recycled shipping containers to build the five-story Art-Tech Hub at Railroad Square.

Kaye and Huffman liked the idea of melding experimental design with inventive materials for the $3-million-plus, 30,000-sq.-ft. hub, slated to begin construction in late summer.

Layering the steel-framed containers offers cool aesthetics — almost like stacking Legos, says Huffman, who's also a FAMU architecture professor. And because the containers are recycled, there's a "green" element to the project. They're also readily available: "We're a country that usually imports more than it exports, so these pile up in our port cities.''

Some 20 potential tenants to date have signed up for the Art-Tech Hub's 25 available studio spaces, among 30-40 spaces in all, including first-floor retail. "We've had a waiting list since we went public with our vision,'' says Kaye, who with his sister owns the 13-acre, 83-tenant Railroad Square Art Park, a site purchased by his grandfather in the mid-20th century for an industrial park and converted to a business incubator and arts district by his mother in the mid-1970s.

Prospective Art-Tech tenants also include a venture capital firm, an intellectual property attorney and a digital marketing company. Kaye believes what sets today's Tallahassee apart is knowledge and creativity and that the biggest thing stunting economic growth is potential contributors' exodus. The hub will provide what today's graduating students want, he says — "a cool lifestyle and all the resources they need to create jobs.' "