LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — A plan to create an entertainment complex around Rivets Stadium and MercyHealth Sportscore Two complex in Loves Park would utilize shipping containers to build low-cost retail locations.

The complex, dubbed Riverside Commons, would be a mix of traditional and “box market” retail space, said David Sidney, CEO of the consulting firm working on the project.

“Dubbed the box market, that’s utilizing shipping containers as part of creating pop-up retail space [and] permanent retail space at a much lower cost than traditional retail space,” Sidney said.

Box markets first popped up in 2011, when Boxpark opened for business in London. Composed of 60 shipping containers, the concept soon spawned numerous imitations, including Boxville; a shipping container marketplace in Chicago.

Boxville Chicago. Photo: Place Foundry

Steven Thompson, Director of community development and public works for Loves Park, says the savings from the containers will help attract fledgling businesses.

“We have a lot of entrepreneur businesses, startup businesses that just can’t afford a place. The rent’s too high or the price of building is skyrocketing. So, this gives them an opportunity at a low cost to get into the market and succeed.”

The idea behind it all is to create a place to play, shop and dine all in one spot.

“This is giving them a place to stay so you can come to these events, the sporting events, the shopping at Costco, still have dinner in the area, stay, play and do whatever they want, but they don’t have to leave,” Thompson said. “So, everything is all together for them.”

The City of Loves Park is still in the first stages of planning, hoping that the Riverside Commons will begin to take shape in 2024.