Grocery stores in a small town near where I live have had a hard go of it. After building to brand spanking new buildings, two of them were out of business before the year was out. Fort Wayne, Indiana, knows about these empty grocery stores. They have had several within their city limits. However, the self storage industry is stepping in and rescuing these empty buildings.
California-based Dealpoint Merrill plans on converting a former Scott’s Food Store into a climate-controlled self storage business. The Fort Wayne Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeal will consider the proposal at their meeting next month. If all goes well, this will be the second former grocery store in the city to become a self storage facility.
The remodeled grocery store will include more than just self storage. In addition, the remodeled grocery store will include about 10 neighborhood-style businesses. Plans are also on the docket to establish other businesses on the out lots.
Dealpoint has already completed two similar conversions of pre-existing buildings into storage facilities. They also have several more in the planning stage. Mike Gaetner, designer of the project for Dealpoint, commented that the company is excited about taking an empty building and turning it into something that will benefit the community.
Over the last several years, these conversions have become popular. There are several reasons for the rise in popularity: an escalating cost (of land and building materials) and a scarcity of available real estate property.
“Location, location, location” is a mantra that business owners are very familiar with. For self storage businesses, easy and convenient access is critical to its success. Converting these empty buildings is very appealing because they tend to be located in densely populated areas and those buildings are easy for potential customers to get to.
If the empty building is structurally sound, the cost of a conversion will generally consist mainly of changes and additions to the interior. Excavation, grading, pouring foundations, putting in electricity and air conditioning, and landscaping have already been done. Using a pre-existing building can reduce the developer’s cost by up to 30 percent.
The earlier conversion of an empty grocery store in Fort Wayne was of a former Kroger grocery store that closed in 2007. It is branded as Downtown Self Storage. The facility is at State Boulevard and spy Run and is slated to open later this month.
“Another empty grocery slated for self-storage conversion.” NewsSentinel.com; 8 August 2013.
“Conversions: A Smart Alternative to Conventional Self-Storage.” Mini-Storage Messenger; February 2011.