Shipping Containers Attract an Eclectic Mix of Retailers at Lee + White

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Marketing Staff

Container village opening this fall provides a unique, affordable brick & mortar option for new and growing businesses.

For businesses seeking brick-and-mortar space to sell their products, conventional storefronts can present challenges. Retail space is becoming increasingly scarce – CoStar reports that Atlanta’s 3.9% vacancy rate in 3Q 2022 is the lowest this century – and leasing costs are on the rise.

Businesses interested in expanding beyond an online presence or opening a new location have an affordable and unique option at the popular Lee + White mixed-use development in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood – shipping containers.

Investment partners Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners are integrating a container village at the property. Five shipping containers – located steps away from the project’s retailers, offices, breweries and restaurants – have attracted a variety of businesses ranging from an electric bike shop to specialty goods and eco-friendly retailers.

Featuring brightly painted exteriors with glass-door storefronts and entries, the containers occupy a prominent position on the property facing White Street next to a paved path providing access to the Atlanta Beltline.

“There’s no better or more affordable way for a business to get a start in a brick-and-mortar location than at a container space like this,” said Ackerman Retail SVP Kelly Wilson, who is leading the retail and food hall leasing efforts at Lee + White on behalf of ownership. “We’re excited about the unique mix of businesses that will be opening in our container village providing an affordable alternative for retailers to grow their businesses, and we’re thrilled that sustainable and eco-friendly products are part of the mix of items offered.”

Instead of a traditional lease, businesses sign a short-term license agreement (often 12 months or less), with costs included for power and other utilities. The lower cost and the short-term length of the agreement provide flexibility for businesses, which typically have the option to extend the license agreement to stay in the container space, or may ultimately choose to move into a larger leased space.

The Lee + White container village is launching this fall with a dynamic and eclectic group of businesses. Kelly has completed agreements with: Atlo, specializing in eco-friendly refills of everyday products; Coastal Green Wellness, a seller of organically produced CBD and hemp products, opening its second Atlanta location; Edison Bicycles, a locally-owned business selling its own brand of electric bikes, launching its third Atlanta location; Erin Smith Art, offering unique greeting cards, gift items and party supplies; and Highfalutin Press, selling a variety of gift products and specialty items.

The container retailers will benefit from heavy foot traffic from visitors to Lee + White’s exciting mix of tenants, which in early 2023 will include a 19-vendor food hall. They’ll also be able to draw customers from the bustling BeltLine trail, which is accessible via four direct entrances at Lee + White, unmatched by any other development in Atlanta.

Acquired by MDH Partners and Ackerman & Co. in September 2019, the ongoing adaptive reuse redevelopment recently welcomed the grand opening of the new headquarters and production facility for nanotechnology innovator Carbice. The lineup of food hall tenants so far includes Lake & Oak BBQ, The Original Hot Dog Factory, Gekko Hibachi & Sushi, Honeysuckle Gelato, Pastaholics, Crème de la Crepe and Cielito Lindo taqueria, with more eateries to be announced soon.