More Shipping Container Retail Coming to Chicago

A recent fad in retailing is getting a big expansion in downtown Chicago.  Related Midwest is going to open a miniature shopping mall made of shipping containers.

Rendering of the Box Shops by Related (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

Rendering of the Box Shops by Related (Courtesy of Related Midwest)

You may recall in 2013, Starbucks opened a coffee shop in Rogers Park that was built out of shipping containers.  And in January of last year, Avondale’s 34/Ten Architecture proposed a farmer’s market made out of shipping containers for the renovation of the CTA’s Logan Square Blue Line station.

Now Related is going to combine the efficiency of shipping container-based construction with the city’s love of pop-up shops.  The project called Box Shops will be designed by Latent Design and located next to where Related’s wants to build a new tower at 725 West Randolph Street.  The skyscraper will have 370 residences and an Equinox-branded hotel.

Each retail space in the container cluster will be about 160 square feet and feature local businesses focused on “a lifestyle and design-centric shopping experience.”

Unlike other cities that have build permanent container shopping plazas, this one is only expected to run through the end of this year.  But that’s pretty much the nature of any pop-up shop.

So far, the retailers announced include Equinox; as well as clothing brands Kido Chicago, digitalKENTE, and ReformedSchool; consulting firm Some Odd Pilot; and a beer garden from Haymarket Pub & Brewery.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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