Stackhouse co-founders Janelle Briggs and Ryan Egan have a vision of changing home ownership. Their imagined future is full of shipping containers.
Stackhouse is a Tucson-based housing startup that plans to create buildings across the country where tenants will live in shipping containers. This type of construction isn’t a novel idea in 2021, but with Stackhouse the containers are removable, so residents can take their homes with them when it’s time to move.
“There’s no future with the American dream as it stands, you get a house and then you sit there until you die, if you’re lucky,” Briggs said. “That’s not the world that we live in anymore. We have to be able to move and go and we don’t have to be in a particular place.”
Briggs and Egan imagine a network of Stackhouses in different states where residents can move from Denver to San Diego or Atlanta or other Stackhouse sites and bring their home right along with them.
Egan likened the Stackhouse model to a vertical marina, where residents can own both the container and the place to park it. If a resident wants to take their container unit out and park it in the woods for a year, another tenant can move in and use the space while the owner is away. Stackhouse trucks will also help residents move from one Stackhouse to another.
First stop: Denver
The first Stackhouse is slated to open up in Denver, hopefully in the next 18 months, Egan said. The Denver Stackhouse is approved for 62 units in an 8-story development on 11,900 square feet of land.
The Stackhouse team credited the University of Arizona Center for Innovation with helping them get their company off the ground, particularly by helping them get into Techstars.
Techstars is a Colorado-based seed stage accelerator that helps early companies grow and access capital. Stackhouse is one of the more than 2,800 companies that have gone through the Techstars program and joined its portfolio.
There are two ways to get into a Stackhouse. The first is by purchasing a share of the co-op, which owns the building. Co-op ownership comes along side purchasing a shipping container to live in and purchasing a lot within the Stackhouse building.
Base model Stackhouse containers are 320 square feet and go for between $110,000 and $130,000 while lots are expected to sell for between $200,000 and $350,000. That means true ownership in the Stackhouse starts at $310,000.
Leases sold as NFTs
Stackhouse will retain ownership of 22 of the 62 units expected to go up in Denver and rent these units out on leases. But in a company that is trying to rethink housing, Stackhouse’s leasing strategy comes with a twist.
Stackhouse leases will be sold as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) starting in December, Egan said, so in order to reserve one of the 22 rental units at Stackhouse, residents must first purchase an NFT. The NFT digital asset then comes with a redeemable lease for a unit in Denver.
The NFT, Egan said, is essentially a transferable lease, or a digital asset that can be redeemed for a lease. Egan said they expect to sell all their NFTs within a few weeks of posting them on OpenSea, an NFT marketplace, and that a secondary market of people buying and selling Stackhouse NFTs will develop after that.
From there, the idea is that anyone who holds the NFT and redeemable lease can sell it to anyone else and, upon lease redemption, Stackhouse will step in to take a security deposit and run a background check once the NFT holder wants to move into a Stackhouse.
Egan said an NFT that comes with a three-month lease is going for $6,000 with discounted prices for longer leasing terms. That leasing price tag comes with access to all of the buildings amenities, and maintenance, but there is an additional $250 monthly fee for utilities.
The NFT leasing situation is rare, but Egan said it is a way for the company to generate substantial cash upfront in order to release the company’s “very expensive” financing.
Stackhouse hopes to build out as many as 25 buildings both in the U.S. and internationally once it is up and running in Denver, but as for the next stop Egan said Puerto Rico is the front-runner.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and part of the reason it’s attractive to Stackhouse are its taxation policies: Bonafide residents of Puerto Rico do not have to pay capital gains taxes on items such as cryptocurrency earnings.
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