With oil production booming in the Permian Basin region, the influx of workers has created a housing shortage in Big Spring and surrounding areas.
One local company, Big A Properties, has found a creative way to ease the burden.
Shipping crates — just like the ones you see on giant cargo ships and on the backs of 18-wheel trucks on the highway — are being converted into living quarters in nearby San Angelo to be rented or sold here in Big
Robert Mesker, project manager for Big A, a locally owned company, believes the crate housing will be a hit with newcomers and locals alike who are seeking a residence.
"There's just no places for people to rent," said Mesker, who designed the inside of the homes said. "The housing situation here is horrible."
The converted sea containers aren't big — about 320 square feet — there are, however, some perks to living in a steel box.
"They are basically indestructible," Mesker said. "They are very low maintenance, they are durable, they are moveable, sound-proof and (Big Spring Mayor Tommy Duncan) and the code enforcement office and city council are all really pumped up about it."
The studio-style, rectangular living spaces feature a full kitchen and bathroom as well as bedroom area. Commercial tile serves as the flooring and certified plumbers and electricians were contracted to insure the
homes are fit to move in.
The first eight of the houses are being placed on North Gregg Street just east of Kwikie convenience store, but Mesker has high hopes that their popularity will catch on and more homes will be imported.
"We hope to have 40-50 of them in different places in Howard County," Mesker added.
Don Avant, one of the owners of Big A Properties shared Mesker's enthusiasm about the crate homes.
"I think it will help the housing shortage," Avant said. "Hotel rooms are packed. These are great for a working person or small family. They are energy efficient and easy to clean and maintain. It would be a great starter house and I believe they will have a reasonable resale value."
The unique homes — which are being arranged into a horseshoe pattern on the lot — are beige in color and look like steel-sided mobile homes.
Avant said making the homes aesthetically pleasing was a priority.
“I wanted to make them look nice and fit into the community,” Avant added. “I have lived in Big Spring my whole life I want them to look good. I want the city to look good.”
Some homes are for rent as early as next week. Prices are $300 per week to rent and $25,000 to purchase.
For more information, contact Mesker at 432-466-9277.