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'Cargominium' Affordable Housing Complex Shredded Before Completion

A "cargominium" housing development in Columbus was torn down before it was completed.
Debbie Holmes
A "cargominium" housing development in Columbus was torn down before it was completed.

A "cargominium" housing development on Columbus' Northeast Side, which was built from reused shipping containers, is coming down before a single resident moved in.

Three years after construction began on the site, a wrecking machine on Tuesday tore into the cargo containers on Old Leonard Avenue, flattening them and stacking the pieces.

The complex was supposed to be the first of its kind, and an answer to Columbus' affordable housing problem. But work stopped two years ago after conflicts with the first developer, AES Development, and general contractor Chelsi Technologies. Refunds were issued to hopeful homebuyers, who already put down deposits on the units.

In 2019, Opportunity Zone Development Group took over the project from non-profit Nothing Into Something Real Estate. CEO Brian White says the site was included in a federal "Opportunity Zone," which grants tax incentivesto developers.

White says he doesn’t fault Nothing Into Something for the delays. He says apartment homes will be built on the location, and the goal is to finish by the end of the year. 

White declined to say why the cargominiums were being disassembled.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.