SteelCraft Bellflower, a Dynamic New Environment Using Cargo Containers, Has Boosted Business in Working-Class Neighborhood

Architecture, urbanism and landscape-design firm Studio One Eleven has completed its latest shipping-container project – an innovative, al-fresco food hall in downtown Bellflower, California.  Made from 14 repurposed shipping containers, SteelCraft Bellflower offers 15,000 square feet of dining, drinking and social space. Studio One Eleven positioned the cargo containers around a courtyard with a curated collection of food and drink vendors.

The developer and builder is Howard CDM. The location is the heart of Bellflower, a “first-ring” suburb south of Los Angeles. Surveys show the project has dramatically increased social and business activity within its first days of opening.

“We designed SteelCraft Bellflower for local, independent vendors to generate cohesion in the core of an existing community,” says Studio One Eleven Senior Principal Michael Bohn, AIA. “Repurposing containers not only creates a sustainable and cost-effective food hall, it also creates an energetic sense of place not equaled by all-new construction. As with all of our cargo environments, we designed SteelCraft Bellflower to be a place for the community to eat, drink and be together.”

The design encourages connection through family- and pet-friendly spaces that include an entertainment stage, a tot-lot and a barn-inspired shade structure evoking Bellflower’s dairy-industry roots. Diverse independent food and drink vendors include Ten Mile Brewing, Off Duty Wine Bar, Long Beach Creamery, Solid Coffee Roasters, Fritzi Coop, Pholanthropy, PRIME by Shenandoah, Cassidy’s Corner and The Standing Room.

SteelCraft Bellflower, at 16500 Bellflower Blvd., is an anchor in the city’s ongoing revitalization. Photo by Studio One Eleven.

SteelCraft Bellflower will also anchor future investment in the area, expanding Studio One Eleven’s commitment to urban revitalization through sustainable design and architecture.

“We always collaborate and seek out ways to fulfill our vision of craft, community and restoration,” said Howard CDM President/CEO Martin D. Howard. “Beat-up shipping containers are a piece of that—but our team continues to push each other to make the space better and better. Everyone from the construction side, to my SteelCraft team, to our architectural partner, Studio One Eleven, and our kitchen designer, Turpin Design Group—everyone has an important role in driving SteelCraft to evolve.”

At the recent opening, Bellflower Mayor Sonny Santa said, “Howard CDM’s investment into the City of Bellflower shows that our community is moving in the right direction. The welcoming courtyard and variety of craft-food choices is fast-becoming Downtown Bellflower’s newest hangout for families and pets.”

SteelCraft Bellflower is an indoor-outdoor dining and social experience. Photo by Studio One Eleven

Revitalization Results

Early findings from SteelCraft Bellflower highlight its positive impact:

·       The project averages 1,500 customers a day.

·       It attracts 500-600 people a night on weekends.

·       The number of visitors coming downtown has more than doubled (based on parking usage).

·       All tenants are significantly exceeding initial sales expectations. For example, Ten Mile Brewery added another crew shift to meet with demand.

·       A large share of visitors come from outside Bellflower. (1/3 from Bellflower, 1/3 from Cerritos and 1/3 from Lakewood.)

·       The tot lot has been a major success, allowing parents to relax and mingle with children are safety entertained within view.

Other Studio One Eleven shipping-container projects include The Roost in Santa Ana and the upcoming SteelCraft Garden Grove, a 20,000-square-foot food hall with creative-office space and an organic garden for its chefs. Leisuretown in Anaheim will feature two levels of shipping containers integrated within a 32,000-square-foot culinary campus with gardens, a swimming pool, a vegan Mexican food restaurant and a Modern Times craft brewery. Both Leisuretown and SteelCraft Garden Grove will open in 2019.

SteelCraft Bellflower’s communal dining area nods toward the city’s dairy-farming roots. Photo by Studio One Eleven.
Form Magazine

Author: Form Magazine

FORM: pioneering design, a publication that celebrates Southern California’s contribution to architecture, design, and the visual arts.

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