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Small Homes with Infinite Possibilities: How a Tucson Startup is Changing the Way We Live

Partners Janelle Briggs and Ryan Egan are changing the way people live. In 2017 they started Stackhouse, a tower of move-in ready, shipping container homes starting at $45K. The best part? Their patent pending technology allows you to move your container home from city to city, and join other Stackhouse communities.


They’re currently 50% reserved for their Tucson vertical container community. “Rent in our Tucson location will start at $650/mo and include all utilities, cable, internet, and parking,” says Janelle, CEO and Co-Founder. “We'll be building locations in Denver, Austin, San Antonio, and Seattle next. And yes, our patent-pending tech allows us to load/unload homes, so you can move from city to city, and eventually around the world.”


In Janelle’s 2019 TEDxTalk, she speaks about the American Dream of homeownership and “how the world is desperate for innovative and sustainable solutions.” Furthermore, Briggs says their developments “meet the most rigorous building codes in the country and we have integrated rain water harvesting and solar power into the structure of our towers.”



Co-Founders Janelle Briggs and Ryan Egan


Learn more about the Stackhouse evolution as I interview Janelle and Ryan:


Alex: How did the idea for Stackhouse come to life?


Ryan: I got the initial idea from following tiny houses while working in housing in San Francisco, and I didn’t like that my neighbors were going to be pushed out of the neighborhood due to increased prices in housing. I also didn’t want anyone to lose their view — which is how the idea for a vertical container community came to life. Also, I was tired of taking care of a 2000 square foot house in Tucson, and wanted to live smaller. I sold my house and now Janelle and I live in an 1100 square foot home.


Janelle: Our plan is to move into Stackhouse Tucson...if there are any spaces left! In highschool someone came to my family home and offered to buy the house from my parents, and they did! So my family moved into our vacation trailer that we had. Our family of four lived in a travel trailer my entire senior year of high school, and it worked. I have practical experience on how to downsize and live tiny. One of the big things about Stackhouse that separates us is that usually you have to pull travel trailers with a truck and it’s best to have a professional in charge of it. With Stackhouse, we handle all the logistics.


Ryan: I moved eleven times in 10 years — and I think about all the boxes and all of the hassle that being a part of Stackhouse would have saved me.


Alex: Can you talk a little about the positive impact that Stackhouse will have on Tucson and other communities?


Janelle: More homeowners! Being a homeowner is one of the number one indicators for children's success in school and families financial security. It gives you the freedom to do so much more with your life because you are safe. Stackhouse is a solution for the housing crisis. It only takes 90 days to build our vertical communities, and we can fit 50 homes on 5,000 square feet.


Some of the other community benefits include an anchor business here in Tucson! Stackhouse will add local jobs as the business will be headquartered here in the Old Pueblo.

Our dream is to turn Southern Arizona into a housing hotspot. Everything to do with housing will be based out of Tucson — from amazing architects to affordable housing.

Beyond being an affordable housing option, Stackhouse will be an engine for economic growth.


Ryan: Housing as a service has really never been tried before — so we have yet to see all of the positive impacts played out. The problem of affordable housing is only going to get bigger — and people are going to be maxed out. This is an affordable investment for people to live in, and still have financial freedom.


Alex: How can someone get started with the process?


Janelle: We partnered with a manufacturer in Texas to make the container homes. It’s pretty similar to buying a boat actually. The manufacturer has financing for you, so if you’re in a Stackhouse tower you have a monthly fee, and you pay off your home in five years. The monthly rent to live in a Stackhouse tower is a flat rate fee that covers all utilities, internet, etc. Which means your electric bill is never going to go up in Arizona in the summer.


Alex: So tell me more about that.


Janelle: The towers are solar powered, and they will actually have a dashboard so you can track what in your container home is using the most power.


Ryan: Our container homes are intended to be sustainable and green, whether you're thinking about that as a resident or not. Living minimally is part of tiny house living — more sustainable living is already built in.


Alex: What’s your morning routine?


Janelle: I get up at 5am and let our four dogs out, then I start the day with coffee. I’m up and on the couch working and answering emails waiting until Ryan gets up sometime between 9-11am.


Ryan: As an entrepreneur you eat a lot of Top Ramen and hustle non-stop, but one of the great things is that we get to set our own schedule. I wake up late, but stay up working until 2 or 3 in the morning. So we’re basically working around the clock as a team.


Alex: What are three items that would make your tiny home complete?


Janelle:

  1. A weighted blanket. It’s a game changer. It’s magic. Pro tip: the woven one is far better than the microbeads, especially if you have dogs.

  2. A good couch

  3. Bathtub

  4. Bonus....and full fridge and stove!

And yes, all of these items can fit in the Stackhouse homes! Check out the renderings.


Ryan:

  1. A couch

  2. My dogs

  3. At least one fish tank — we currently have five fish tanks so may have to downsize when we move into the container home


Alex: When will construction begin?


Janelle: This is contingent on two things: 1) Our crowdfunding through Wefunder and 2) final approval from the City of Tucson. Our goal is to begin construction no later than Q1 of 2021.


Support Stackhouse #backthestack


Are you loving what you’re reading and learning from Janelle and Ryan? Well, the good news is that you can support Stackhouse and become a part of the affordable housing movement. “After exploring multiple funding options, we chose Wefunder for the opportunity it provided the community to invest, and our platform will benefit Tucson by providing more affordable housing options. I felt like we’re at the forefront of solutions like Wefunder and we’re excited to be a part of it.” Janelle Briggs, Founder and CEO of Stackhouse.


Their goal is to reach $500,000 in 45 days for the first vertical container home tower located in downtown Tucson. Janelle says, “The time is now. If you believe in the Stackhouse mission, I need you to help change the real estate landscape in downtown cities across the world!”


Here’s how you can support Stackhouse:

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