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终极废物利用:集装箱式生存

Beth Kowitt 2011年11月15日

这或许算得上废物利用的极致:将退役的海运集装箱改造为建筑。SG Blocks认为,它能把这个想法发展成大买卖。

    当然,加尔文并不指望所有人都住进外墙波纹起伏的钢铁箱子。SG Blocks投资者Vector集团的总裁兼首席执行官霍华德•罗勃指出,人们听说集装箱住宅后的第一反应往往是:“哇,谁愿意住进一个看起来集装箱的房子?”不过,他补充说,亲眼看到此种住宅的人士往往完全想不到其建筑材料是用过的集装箱。在最近一次展销会上,加尔文叫员工在样板房一边切了个大洞,以展露其建筑构造,否则的话,没人能看出它是集装箱改建的。

    加尔文或许是第一个将集装箱住宅概念发展成企业的人,但他的灵感其实来自一位商船船员兼海事工程师。后者早在2000年代初就在南卡罗来纳州查尔斯顿建造了一套基于集装箱的住宅,并办妥了相关手续,获得房管部门的认可。见到这些集装箱后,加尔文马上想起了“绿色建筑预制块”(green building block)这个名称,他的公司正是得名于此。

    今年7月,SG Blocks 宣布计划与CDSI Holdings合并,后者是一家主要为投资和收购目的而设的控股公司,上周交易最终完成,SG Blocks通过这一反向收购成功上市。根据该公司向美国证券交易委员会(SEC)申报的文件,SG Blocks在截至6月30日的6个月中实现260万美元营收,但净亏损超过50万美元。该公司称,这一亏损主要是因为并购及上市事宜的开支较大。

    加尔文此前曾执掌过非营利组织,专注于建设价格低廉或满足特定需要的住宅,同时也是SG Blocks最初的种子期投资者。公司成立初期,加尔文决定,与其追求揽下大量项目,不如侧重军方订单,与大公司合作,从而积累信誉。

    他的第一个客户就是美国陆军,后者要求他在布拉格堡建设一个行政总部。SG Blocks最近在休斯顿港完成了两座大型建筑,动用集装箱32个;还在一艘美国海军核动力航空母舰的甲板上打造了一个大型办公与训练设施,共用了47个40英尺长的集装箱。

    That's not to say that Galvin expects us all to live in corrugated steel boxes. Howard Lorber, president and CEO of SG Blocks investor Vector Group, says that the initial reaction often is, "Wow, who wants to be in a house that looks like a container?" But he adds that people who see the structures often have no idea they were built out of material once used to ship cargo. At a recent trade show, Galvin had his crew cut a hole in the side of their model house to expose the structural system because no one realized it was made from containers.

    While Galvin may have been the one to turn the concept into a business, he got the idea from a merchant mariner and Naval engineer who had built and permitted a container-based house in Charleston, SC, in the early 2000s. He immediately saw these containers as what he calls a "green building block" -- hence the name.

    In July, SG Blocks announced its intention to merge with CDSI Holdings, a holding company primarily created for investments and acquisitions. The deal was finalized last week, which makes SG Blocks a public company. Its SEC filings show that SG Blocks generated $2.6 million in revenue for the six months ending June 30, but had a net loss of more than half a million dollars. The company said that was in large part due to the costs associated with an emerging operation going public.

    Galvin, who had previously been running not-for-profit groups focusing on affordable and special needs housing, was the original seed investor. Rather than chase a lot of projects, he decided early on to focus on military contracts and work for large corporations to help build credibility.

    His first client was the U.S. Army, which tapped him to build an administrative headquarters at Fort Bragg. SG Blocks recently finished up two large buildings made up of 32 containers at the Port of Houston, and a large office and training structure on the deck of a U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carrier made up of 47 40-foot containers.

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