When the warehouse-turned-A+ Storage was originally built, one of its owners was touring with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The other was preparing for his future role as the singing voice of Winnie the Pooh. Today, the duo is making melodies in Nashville’s self-storage market with a warehouse conversion that has won the attention of the historic community.
Owners Tim Stone and Tommy Pierce first hooked up in “Music City” when they were both active members of the entertainment industry. Decades later, they decided to make a new sound in self-storage. They formed A+ Storage of Tennessee and have since completed nine self-storage facilities including this one, the duo’s first conversion project.
A+ Storage opened in an area known as “The Gulch” in May 2008. Once a generic, aging downtown Nashville warehouse, the facility now boasts more than 600 multi-sized climate-controlled storage units, 34 rentable parking spaces, class-A office space and additional space for lease to the residents of the famed Music Row.
“We were looking for a conversion opportunity for quite some time when we found this warehouse in this special area,” Stone says. “This property sits right next to a premier condominium development that Magic Johnson has invested in called the Terrazzo, and its right across the street from another building, the Icon, that is also getting a lot of attention. This was a miraculous opportunity.”
A Facelift for an Eyesore
The 41,000-square-foot flat brick building was more than 50 years old when two architects set to convert it to self-storage. The exterior design was initiated by Robin Hood, a principal of Crossroads Architecture. John Barrett of B3 Architecture completed the exterior design. The intent was to pick up the architectural feel of old downtown Nashville and update it to reflect the revitalized Music Row.
For the storage system design, the developers worked with U.S. Door & Building Components. To pull off the second-floor strategy, U.S. Door’s Access A-Deck mezzanine system was chosen because it doubles the net rentable space and resulting income.
U.S. Door’s project team helped the developers customize the system to fit their unique building design using the Virtual Design Studio that demonstrates unit mixes and expected income with a few keystrokes. The demonstrations took place over the Internet.
The mezzanine flooring system is made from Tradex, a high-density, high-impact subfloor with a polymer top. It is superior to plywood, can accept higher weight loads and take impacts with less chance of damage. Because Access-A-Deck flooring weighs considerably less than concrete, it allowed U.S. Door’s structural components to be placed directly over the existing concrete slabs without additional footers. The system is manufactured completely from hot-dipped galvanized steel and is engineered to utilize load-bearing walls and horizontal partition panels. This was an important feature for the A+ Storage conversion because of the addition of a second floor to the existing one-story warehouse.
“We actually took their old warehouse and converted it into a two-story self-storage facility with light-gauge framing and technologically advanced flooring,” says Chip Cordes, vice president of U.S. Door. “This was a complete transformation inside and out.”
From Cordes’ perspective, designing a unit mix that fit the shape of the building and adhering to the height restrictions of the building’s exterior corners was a hurdle demanding keen problem-solving skills. Even though A+ had an advantage with the Access-A-Deck mezzanine system, capitalizing on operational efficiencies by yielding more rentable storage without additional management or utilities costs, the fact that the project was a conversion added some bumps.
“The entire layout was unique,” says Cordes.
The article was written and developed by Self Storage Promotions and Mary Ann Diehl, director of marketing for JanUS Door, a supplier of roll-up doors and related products. For more information, call 407.859.6770; visit www.usdoor.com.