San Francisco startup leases office space in shipping containers

Byby Melanie Woodrow via KGO logo
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
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Got space? One San Francisco company is addressing the real estate problem in an innovative way.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Got space? One San Francisco company is addressing the real estate problem in an innovative way. Startup Campsyte is leasing office space in shipping containers

Talk about making the most of what you have. Campsyte's lease includes an empty parking lot, so they decided to put it to use. They brought in a shipping container which they're now leasing space out of the shipping container. Pretty soon the one on the ground will be perched on top of two more.

Even getting into this office space is innovative -- as long as you don't forget your cellphone

"These days it's less common than losing your keys right," said Campsyte cofounder and CEO Dennis Wong with a laugh.

After 13 years in construction management, Wong saw the need for more flexible real estate.

"In a boom cycle you can't build enough buildings and in a bust cycle all projects freeze," said Wong.

He decided to re-purpose shipping containers.

"They're modular, they're re-locatable and they're also kind of funky and quirky," he said.

That makes them a good fit for San Francisco startups. The shipping container ABC7 News got to tour is from China.

Wong says it likely carried everything from clothing to toys. And now it boasts air conditioning and heat, Wi-Fi and even adjustable desks.

Areas of the container are covered with sound insulating material.

"It's kind of got the new car smell," said Wong.

The name CampSyte is purposeful -- a temporary space with a small footprint.

"The goal is flexibility," said Wong.

Short-term leases range from $30 an hour to $150 a day or $3,200 per month.

Wong says the containers are designed to be earthquake ready, even once this one will be 30 feet up on top of two others.

Now the company is working with the planning commission to build in other parking lots.

"People don't realize how much waste there is," said Wong.

An innovative design in a city that needs all the space it can get.