Developer Overcomes Challenges to Build Ebenezer Climate Storage

Terry Campbell Comments
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What some owners go through to develop a self-storage facility can sometimes be stranger than fiction. Take the case of partners Ed Drummond and Hal Bibee in Tennessee. A successful real estate development team, they decided that since land costs were rising and availability was limited, a multi-story project made sense.

But the partners didn’t want to develop just any multi-story building. They planned a state-of-the-art, four-story, climate-controlled facility in an upscale Knoxville, Tenn., neighborhood where many of the tenants expressed appreciation that a first-class, convenient facility is now at their disposal.

The Back Story

Drummond overcame several challenges to get Ebenezer Climate Storage up and running, remembers Britt Skrivanek, sales consultant for BETCO, a Statesville, N.C., manufacturer of self-storage building components.

Although the zoning classification for the Ebenezer property was for office buildings, it left some room for other unspecified but appropriate uses. The Knox County planning staff agreed the architectural renderings of the proposed brick-and-stucco structure were appropriate and, after approval by the planning commission, Ebenezer Climate Storage became the first self-storage facility to be approved in county zoning. And then there’s the other unique story.

A portion of the Ebenezer site was within a Federal Emergency Management Agency 100-year flood zone. Knox County owned the adjacent parcel between the Ebenezer site and Ten Mile Creek, which had been condemned due to chronic flooding. The developer obtained a variance permitting fill-in in the flood zone in exchange for an equal volume of cut-in. Civil engineers designed a site outside the flood zone with sufficient area to accommodate the storage building. This simultaneously created significantly more storage for flood water in the Ten Mile watershed—a win/win for everyone, and an excellent example of cooperation between a business and government to bring about the best possible results.

Facility Details

The Ebenezer project is nestled within an affluent Knoxville neighborhood and resembles an upscale hotel or retail establishment. The building has 104,976 total square feet with each floor figured at 26,244 square feet.

The exterior walls are sheathed with Denglass-Gold for exterior insulation and finish systems, combined with a brick finish. For a distinctive, aesthetic architectural touch, a slanted cupola roof rests over the office corner of the structure.

There is ground access on the first and second floors, with elevator and stair access to the third and fourth floors. Elevators are positioned at the front and rear of the building. Even though placing the elevators together is typically less expensive, spreading them out means less congestion for customers on the move.

The larger units are situated on floors one and two, with smaller units on three and four. The fourth floor has been left open, allowing flexibility for final unit sizes in response to demand.

The project used light-gauge framing, stacked load-bearing stud walls and traditional hot-rolled steel shapes for clear-span areas such as offices, entrances and elevator lobbies. A roof hatch was incorporated for easy access to the rooftop.

The Ebenezer facility exemplifies the coming trend in self-storage. It features more efficient use of land, a desirable location and uses materials to fit any environment. The facility also offers customer-friendly amenities in response to a broader concept of who uses self-storage.

Terry Campbell is vice president of sales and marketing for BETCO Inc., a single-source manufacturer of metal self-storage buildings based in Statesville, N.C. For more information, visit www.betcoinc.com.

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