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Box City opens on Medway City Estate offering work-space out of shipping containers


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Shipping containers are the new workplace according to one company which offers a unique way of working.

Box City has opened its second site in Medway and KentOnline took a look around to see how these metal boxes can be turned into functioning businesses.

A look inside Box City

The site boasts 52 rentable units which have been equipped with electricity, heating, air-con, wi-fi and painted white to offer potential clients a blank-space to work on.

Sales and marketing director Spencer Fortag said: "Box City was born out of an idea to provide affordable and flexible work and office space for new businesses, start-ups and especially those businesses who are making that progression from working at home to wanting their own identity and their own premises."
The crux of the company is to offer people affordable workspaces and shorter contracts of six to 12 months at a time as Spencer suggests longer terms can sometimes be quite daunting.

The spaces are £600 per month and can be customised to fit the needs of their tenants such as by fitting sinks or sound-proofing.

Spencer added: "The boxes are predominantly used containers that are sitting around in storage yard waiting to sold. We are taking something redundant and giving it a new lease of life.

Managing director James Frost and sales and marketing director Spencer Fortag
Managing director James Frost and sales and marketing director Spencer Fortag
There are 52 unites that can be rented
There are 52 unites that can be rented
Box City in Sunderland Quay, Medway City Estate
Box City in Sunderland Quay, Medway City Estate

"These are ideal where the novelty from working from home as worn off, having children or pets running around is not ideal to a professional working place so we felt this is a good bridge from working from home and maybe going back to the office in the future.

"But likewise they offer a great solution for people on a full-time basis who want something that is their own, is not at home or the office."

They have seen business such as hairdressers and beauticians set up shop in the 20ft by 8ft spaces but also accountants and architects.

They also have more than 560 PO boxes which can be rented at £19 a month.

Managing director and the mastermind behind Box City, James Frost, said this project started a couple of years ago when he was left with a few containers and had seen similar projects elsewhere in the UK.

A unit fitted with office equipment
A unit fitted with office equipment
Each unit comes fitted with electrics, Wi-Fi and air-con
Each unit comes fitted with electrics, Wi-Fi and air-con
An empty unit
An empty unit

He also runs another business – Frost Signs – which as it started to grow was too small for a regular office space but too big to be working from home as they had been doing.

James said: "I could not afford to get a unit. I was in limbo. Being in that position myself if this was about then it would have helped move the business along quicker."

And one business that has joined the Box City community is Sharpe's Barbershop run by Joe Sharpe and partner Louise who offers hair extensions. The pair started renting the space in late October and claim the affordibilty is what drew them to it.

Joe, 29, said: "Most places if you are renting a chair you are looking at a minimum of £150 a week and that is the exactly same price as having this space that we have got here and actually run our own business from."

They said that having their own space where they can work on their own terms is a big plus.

Louise and Joe have rented a unit since late October
Louise and Joe have rented a unit since late October
Inside of Sharpe's Barbershop
Inside of Sharpe's Barbershop
Inside of Sharpe's Barbershop
Inside of Sharpe's Barbershop

Each unit is fully sanitised before anyone takes occupation and the company has been told that the space inside is fine between two to four people.

This site in Sunderland Quay on Medway City Estate is the company's second – the other is next to Diggerland in Strood.

For more information, visit its website here.

You can contact Joe on Facebook and Instagram at SharpeTheBarber or Louise on Facebook at LouLou's Hair Extensions.

Louise, 25, added: "It is our own space, doing something we enjoy."

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