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If you happen to be in Kansas City, take a short detour south to Overland Park, Kansas. There you’ll find SERV, a two-acre indoor/outdoor container-based entertainment complex.
It’s a popular destination thanks to its eight pickleball courts and performance stage. Locals love exploring the seven different kitchens, offering a range of fare from vegan cuisine to barbecue and ice cream. At night, twinkle lights illuminate the outdoor seating and cornhole greens.
But our favorite feature of SERV? It would have to be the containers.
SERV opened in February 2023 as an addition to the Promontory mixed-use development outside of Kansas City. The vision for the containers was dreamed up by RoxBox, then brought to life by Falcon Structures.
Falcon Structures is no stranger to manufacturing large, container-based venues. We led the fabrication of The Pitch in Austin, which is a similar food park concept to SERV. But each project is unique and comes with its own challenges. Here’s a behind the scenes look at how our team made SERV a reality.
The conceptual scope of this project was 19 unique shipping containers:
Our first step was to translate the owner’s vision into something that met the functional, financial, and aesthetic goals of the project. This is where our design assist team shines. Drawing on our experience and expertise in using shipping containers for modular construction, we come alongside architects and engineers to assist on designs for large projects like this.
One challenge we faced on SERV was reworking the original designs to be within the owner’s budget. Another challenge was to work with the owner, architects, and engineers to be a better fit for Falcon’s manufacturing. We’ve developed a manufacturing system that allows us to see projects through production efficiently and quickly. By incorporating our revised designs and manufacturing best practices, the owners had the confidence in the budget and timeline to start production.
Falcon’s production team was the real star of the SERV project. The 13 40-foot containers and 6 20-foot containers each had unique requirements and now serve a wide variety of purposes – from bathrooms to cold storage to kitchens. The production crew left no skill unused during the modifications.
Our plumbers and electricians carried out substantial modifications across all containers, but especially the men’s and women’s bathrooms. The welders in our hotwork dome had sparks flying while cutting and framing 34 total openings for doors, slider and runner windows, and roof openings. Falcon’s carpenters outfitted interiors with framing and additional walls. And our painters went through 100 gallons of primer and 140 gallons of black-grey paint to finish the containers’ striking exteriors.
We documented the production stages for the vegan kitchen container as an example. Scroll through its evolution in the slideshow below.
Our goal for any job is to make the project as easy as possible for all parties. After 20 years of leading the modified shipping container industry, we’ve learned coordination and communication are the keys to reaching that goal. This is especially true of this project since it required substantial adaptation up front, but it’s also important throughout the production process.
Falcon completed as much of each container as possible at our factory. But the containers still required work to become fully finished and functional in their final location. We needed to make sure the boxes would be prepped to be installed seamlessly once on site, which meant preparing for that hand-off months ahead of time.
Our team worked with the SERV project managers to clarify mechanical, electrical, and plumbing finalizations upon delivery. The open line of communication informed both parties of what was and wasn’t part of the project scope. It created a smooth hand-off for the contractors on-site in Kansas City.
The concept to use shipping containers for SERV was inspired by one of the developers’ other projects in Kansas City: The Iron District. They wanted the feel of a food hall or food truck park, so modified shipping containers fit nicely into the developers’ vision for SERV.
Containers are similar in size and shape to food truck galley kitchens. Unlike food trucks, SERV’s container kitchens have all the conveniences of a permanent structure. Plumbing, electrical, and a PTAC unit to keep cool in the summer are included. A modified shipping container kitchen is also more cost-effective than a food truck, which can easily reach over six figures in price.
Using containers was the best fit for SERV’s “eatertainment” purposes. But this project benefited from embracing modular construction in other ways:
Nearly eight months after opening, we are delighted to see SERV thriving. Online reviews are glowing. The community seems to love the shipping container venue for family-friendly nights out, happy hours, private gatherings, and of course - pickleball.
We’re proud to have contributed to SERV. When we get to put our extensive manufacturing expertise to use, it propels us closer to our mission to build a better world by pioneering the use of container-based structures.
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