Shipping container boutique hotel planned for Haughville neighborhood

The bold suite is pictured in this preview image provided by Tiny Urban Escapes, a boutique hotel slated for construction this year at 2214 W. Michigan St.

An Indianapolis company is building a boutique hotel using repurposed shipping containers to welcome guests seeking quirky experiences in the heart of the city.

A first for Tiny Urban Escapes was held Friday at 2214 W. Michigan St., currently a vacant lot two blocks from the intersection of Michigan Street and Belmont Avenue and the Haughville branch of the Indianapolis Public Library. .

Mayor Joe Hogsett attended the event, where Tiny Urban Escapes owner Robin Staten described four private hotel suites arranged in a courtyard. The suites are named The Heiress, The Bold, The Eclectic and The Naturalist.

Modular suites will feature a wall of glass, and guest amenities include a pillow menu, private chef experiences, and on-demand concierge services.

Robin Staten, owner of Tiny Urban Escapes. (IBJ Photo by David Lindquist)

The Tiny Urban Escapes website touts the hotel’s proximity to Eagle Creek Park as well as downtown attractions.

Staten, who previously worked in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department of IUPUI, started working on the Tiny Urban Escapes concept in 2016.

Larry Williams, president of the Indy Black Chamber of Commerce, told the audience Friday that Staten represents a success story of perseverance in obtaining funding and a site for his business.

“We need the city and state to use this as an example so we can get more money for black businesses and women-owned businesses,” Williams said.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Indianapolis is lending the project $280,000 for predevelopment and construction. LISC funding is made possible through support from the Lilly Endowment for credit enhancement for economic development projects with a focus on investments in Black-owned businesses located in disinvested neighborhoods.

Staten said she chose shipping containers for the hotel because of their marketability, durability and environmental friendliness.

“Shipping containers are growing in popularity right now,” Staten said. “We’re seeing projects popping up all over the city, and I’m just lucky to be at the forefront of this innovation.”

Staten said travelers are tired of cookie-cutter hotels and are turning to new, more intimate places to stay.

Priced at $179 for a one-night stay, the suites will be 20-cubic-foot-tall containers. A fifth building on site, billed as Stage, will be a 40-cubic-foot-tall container used for dining and events.

Construction should be finished by the end of the summer.

Staten said she hopes to open another Tiny Urban Escapes location in Indianapolis as well as locations in other Midwestern cities.

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