Photo by Bruce Davis

Old Lake Highlands neighbor Paula Pacanins is the queen of Container King. She took what started as a storage container business and built one of the most innovative commercial structures in Dallas-Fort Worth – completely out of shipping containers.

When they aren’t sitting on massive barges between continents, the steel boxes have historically been used to house construction equipment at worksites or as extra storage in big box retail. But around 2013, as the tiny house movement gained steam, shipping containers started becoming more popular building materials.

Cole Smith is Pacanins’ business partner. He has the building expertise, while she handles sales, personnel and business operations for Container King. Pacanins highlights the environmentally friendly aspect of building with what are essentially recycled materials. The containers come from shipping companies who retire them after they cross oceans. Container King repurposes them into the framework for homes and businesses.

Around 2013, Container King began to outfit the large metal boxes as housing for hunting lodges, oil field dwellings and eventually a small house out of three containers, adding insulation, plumbing, electrical work and other finishes to the containers.

But Container King’s largest and most impressive project is a recently completed business park in Fort Worth made out of 120 shipping containers, called Box Office Warehouse Suites.

Photo by Bruce Davis

“The developer wanted something unique, something no one else had done,” Pacanins says.

Container King cuts windows and doorways out of the containers, sprays foam insulation and then finishes out the inside as they build. The 120 containers had walls removed without compromising the structural integrity of the box before they could be joined and sealed.

Box Office Warehouse Suites will include a two-story beauty salon, retail space and offices, all brightly painted to catch the eye. The development even has a purple and grey section in support of TCU.

Pacanins, who grew up in Albany, Texas, and attended Texas Tech, is somewhat surprised to find herself at the helm of an innovative storage and building company. She previously sold advertisements for the Denton Record Chronicle and ran a staffing agency.

“I never dreamt this was where I would be. It was just how one thing led to another,” she says. “It was not by design, but it doesn’t hurt to have a good work ethic.”

The development is at 1953 Golden Heights Rd, Fort Worth, Texas, 76177, east of Keller.

Photo by Bruce Davis