Project Spotlight: Q'anápsu Dispensary

Project Background

Welcome to Q’anápsu, a 25-container dispensary built on the Cowlitz Reservation in Washington state. This project is one of the largest shipping container structures in the Western Hemisphere and is a true testament to volumetric modular construction. ROXBOX collaborated with the client to execute the design + build + on-site install of this shell pathway project, after which a local General Contractor finished the build-out on-site per our direction.

The permanent dispensary location capped off a long-running development plan for the tribe, as they looked to expand their Q’anápsu Dispensary operations beyond the mobile dispensary truck they were operating out of for years. The 25-container dispensary features a check-in entrance/patio, large retail space, ATM room, photo/selfie room, product storage space, employee back-of-house lounge, offices, and a secure driveway for product delivery. Ten (10) 40’ containers make up the first level and fifteen (15) 20’ & 40’ containers make up the second level. Two impressive cantilevers cap off the massive modular structure (one of which juts out 21 feet over the entrance patio), showcasing the true versatility of building with shipping containers. The structure is painted Q’anápsu’s iconic green and is decorated with various types of branding to truly make the structure pop from all angles.

Upcycling shipping containers was an important aspect of this project, as sustainability is a defining ethos of the Cowlitz people and they wanted to reflect that in all aspects of the build. Not only is this structure an important economic development that the tribe can use to employ members and bring in funds to the community, but it’s also a building they can be proud of everytime they look at it. The detail that went into the build and significance of the project can best be described by the tribe themselves: “Welcome to Q’anápsu, a unique dispensary experience brought to you by the Cowlitz people. Q’anápsu in our language means grass. Just like the hearty grasses throughout the prairies as you look east from where you stand, Q’anápsu has a thousand stories to tell. From artwork representing our beautiful landscape, to the shapes of traditional cedar hats, you’ll see our stories are woven throughout our store.”

Working with the Cowlitz Tribe and incorporating their culture, history, & story into every aspect of the build was a special opportunity for the ROXBOX team.

Q'anápsu Video Tour

Specs & Modifications

Project specs and modifications include:

  • Design, modeling, pre-construction management, and creation of stamped CD set
  • 25 shipping containers (both 20’ & 40’ ST and HC one-trip shipping containers)
  • Layout & fabrication of all penetrations
  • Modification of containers
  • Fabrication of structural reinforcement for penetrations
  • Install of exterior steel personnel doors
  • Interior framing
  • Spray foam insulation under ground floor units
  • Exterior painting of containers
  • Transportation of containers to project site
  • Container site install and welding
  • Structural interior steelwork


Q’anápsu is located on the Cowlitz Reservation in Washington state about 20 minutes north of Portand, Oregon. The dispensary is located on the grounds of the ilani Casino Resort, which is also owned and operated by the Cowlitz tribe.

Project Scope

ROXBOX collaborated with the client to execute the design + inspections/approvals + “shell” build + delivery + on-site install, while the client (in collaboration with a local General Contractor) finished the build-out on-site.

While we often are tapped to handle all of the design + build components of our projects, ownership chose to engage numerous parties to execute this project:

Project Timeline

ROXBOX spent several weeks helping the Q’anápsu team, including their architect, to finalize their CD set given it was their first foray into modular construction including bringing in our structural engineering team. The build-out and delivery of all 25 units took less than 4 months and the whole building was completed in less than 6 months, highlighting one of the biggest value propositions of modular construction – speed. This allowed the tribe to open ~40% faster than traditional construction methodologies, thereby generating significantly more revenue by being open so quickly.

Project Development

Q'anápsu Renderings & Construction Documents
Delivery + Install
Finished Build Photos

If you are interested to learn more about Q’anápsu Dispensary or any of our other container modification projects, click here to contact our team or visit our website (