From the WSJ:
On Monday afternoon at the corner of Washington and Charles Streets in the West Village, entrepreneur Michael de Jong stood in a winter coat, giving tours of one of his 320-square-foot MEKA Luxury Modular Homes, which took about five days to assemble on-site. Sadly, for NYC bargain hunters, the home’s site is only temporary. The house, made from a shipping container, is on display there until the end of the month.
The West Village open house, which is set up in a vacant lot next to a bike shop owned by one of Mr. Jong’s friends, is an American coming-out party of sorts for MEKA homes. The company, formed a year ago, is based in Toronto. The homes are built for $24,000 apiece in a factory in the eastern Chinese seaport of Ningbo. Meka’s only sold 10 units so far–mostly in Canada–and are looking for a foothold in the city.
Mr. Jong says he wants American consumers to think of his homes not as houses so much as well-designed luxury products. To that end, they have modern-looking finishes, smooth surfaces, clean, no-nonsense bamboo wood flooring and a deck made out of the cut-out side of the shipping container. The walls are mostly glass picture windows.
“It’s modern-looking, sexy, sleek,” he says. “It’s a product design, not a housing design.”
“American tourists said, ‘I don’t have million dollars to buy a condo on the beach. But I do have $200,000,” he said. For that, you can buy a piece of cheap land and put a 3-bedroom (made of four shipping containers) MEKA house up on it in a few weeks, instead of spending months or years building a “stick-built” house from the ground up.