Collision Works is an innovative boutique hotel, co-working lab, and public event space growing in the Eastern Market district of Detroit. The concept comes from Shel Kimen, founder of  Collision Works; she left New York City in 2011 for Detroit with an idea to build a 36-room boutique-style hotel built of re-purposed shipping containers.  They just launched their ambitious Kickstarter campaign on April 3, 2013 to raise $37K in funding starting with phase I of the project, the “First Container.”

Eastern Market has given us space to build a two container demonstration of Collision Works on the corner of Russell Street and Wilkins,  just a few blocks from the actual site of the future hotel. This is incredible. Even more incredible is KOOP AM (our architects), IBG Detroit (our builders), and SG Blocks (our engineers and box supplier) have agreed to get us a working prototype by May 18th (Flower Day, which attracts over 200,000 people to the market) if we can fund a successful Kickstarter campaign by April 20th to guarentee the costs.”

We are calling it FIRST CONTAINER, because it really is our First Container and we will be using the units to host story-telling events all summer long. The first box will have couches, a large community work table, free internet, and lots of free story-based events. At the end of October we will move this box to our land on 1923 Division and it will get built into the lobby of Collision Works. It’s an amazing opportunity and we need your help with two things to make it a reality. “

It’s an artful 36-room boutique hotel, co-working facility, and public event space that uses the art of storytelling to connect and engage travelers and locals alike. Stories are the foundation of all other art forms and the basis for human connection– truth and fiction, history and imagination. Stories connect us, help us learn, and are catalyst for personal and community growth.


This is the first of two projects to be built from re-purposed shipping containers that celebrates story-telling as a way to connect people. It’s our prototype and focuses on how we can most creatively engage people while building sustainable business and community. It’s an opportunity get your ideas and feedback to inform the second, much larger shipping container project, Collision Works.

By May 18th, which is Flower Day in the countries longest running farmer’s market, attracting over 200,000 visitors, we want to have our First Container ready to go. We’ll put two 8×40 foot units on the corner of Russell Street and Wilkins, just three blocks away from our future hotel. It will stay up for six months.

  • Eastern Market Corporation has offered prime real estate outside Shed 5 for a six month demonstration
  • Integrity Builders Group of Detroit will handle the construction
  • SG Blocks will provide the containers, engineering, and all box transportation
  • KOOP AM (Architects) is designing how it all works, what’s inside, and drew these pictures we are already looking at.

In order to get our FIRST CONTAINER Story Box structures in place we need to raise $37,000 in just two weeks. ($3,700 of that is fees for Kickstarter and Amazon Payments).

In short order you will be able to visit us, share some stories, and meet great people. Your contribution will be part of something that you can hang out in through the fall of 2013. And it will live on in the hotel, forever.

What will happen inside? 

Once these are live the real fun begins! Each month we’ll have different story “themes” like The Arts, Alternative Transportation, Food Production, and more. You can get into the details on, but some things we’ve already got in motion include:

  • Weekly “lunch and learn” for area workers to hear stories about and from their fellow market employees
  • An oral history project to document the lives and stories of Eastern Market workers and residents
  • Kids telling kids why they wanted to learn to make things like bikes and robots and electronic music
  • Showcase a variety of local creative talent, artists, directors, and musicians
  • Conversations with Detroit’s contemporary artists about why they chose to stay in Detroit

Because this links to our other project, the Collision Works hotel and community space, a lot of our programming will also work towards inviting visitors to meet and interact with the people that call Detroit home. We’ll work with local festival and event producers like the Detroit Maker Faire, the Detroit Design Festival, and the Woodward Dream Cruise to create programs specifically for their out of town visitors.

We really want you to be a part of this. It’s not just the money. Most of our rewards are designed to include you, tangibly, in the actual First Container, which will later be moved to the site and become part of the larger project. Forever. We are in the business of designing great experiences and having you be a part of this first one is a very big deal to us.

Below is our rockstar team and advisors.

  • Shel Kimen, Founder/CEO Collision Works, Project Lead
  • Addie Langford, TechShop; Audience & Program Development
  • Brian Mooney, IBG Detroit; Construction
  • Ceara O’Leary, Detroit Collaborative Design Center; Community Engagement
  • Christina Heximer, Detroit Collaborative Design Center; Community Engagement
  • Chris Blauvelt, Patronicity; Crowdfunding
  • Dan Carmody, Eastern Market Corporation; Planning and location
  • David Cross, SG Blocks; Engineering and containers
  • Dean Storm, Spirit of Space, Detroit StoriesFilmmaker
  • Delphia Simmons, Thrive Detroit, Kiva Detroit; Community Engagement
  • Donna Jackson, Detroit100 Series, Synergy Detroit; Events, Storytelling
  • Dorothy Trojanowski, Graphic Design
  • Gary Wozniak, RecoveryPark, Planning and community
  • George Cooper, KOOP AM; Architect of Record
  • Helene Kenny, o2 Creative Solutions; Design
  • Ivory Williams, Virgil Carr Center; Storytelling
  • John Biggar, IBG Detroit, Design & Construction
  • Leslie Smith, TechTown; Operations and finance
  • Randall Fogelman, Eastern Market Corporation; Planning
  • Sara Adkins, University of Michigan; volunteers and rewards
  • Shashank Karnik, Consultant; Project Manager