The Lock Up Self Storage Proposes Development on Office Site in Northbrook, IL

The Lock Up Self Storage, which operates more than 30 facilities in eight states, has proposed a 120,000-square-foot storage development for 990 Skokie Blvd. in Northbrook, Ill. The 3.2-acre site currently houses an award-winning, vacant office building. Although village board members appear to favor the self-storage project, some local residents have opposed the plan. The storage facility would offer about 1,000 units, according to the source.

The Lock Up Self Storage, which operates more than 30 facilities in eight states, has proposed a 120,000-square-foot storage development for 990 Skokie Blvd. in Northbrook, Ill. The 3.2-acre site currently houses an award-winning, vacant office building. Although village board members appear to favor the self-storage project, some local residents have opposed the plan. The storage facility would offer about 1,000 units, according to the source.

Earlier this month, the board voted 6-1 in favor of having approval documents prepared for its Oct. 18 meeting. Residents have continued to press village officials in opposition to the project, citing possible increases in traffic and a disagreement on the appropriate use of the space, the source reported.

"If there were an operating office there, there would be more traffic," said trustee James Karagianis, chairman of the planning and zoning committee. "This is not an intense use and actually would be much less than what could go in there now." Some residents requested the site be converted into park space, but Karagianis told them the park district doesn’t have interest in purchasing the property and is looking for smaller areas in Northbrook for park space, according to the source.

To help prevent traffic from moving toward residences south of the storage facility, the board has insisted that drivers make only a right turn out of the parking lot off of Sunset Ridge Road, which would direct motorists away from the neighborhood, the source reported. Similarly, customers would also be required to make a right turn into the facility.

Traffic concerns are also tied to a proposed apartment complex under consideration at 1000 Skokie Blvd. Village president Sandy Frum has added a traffic condition on the project in time for the October vote, but trustees could also revisit traffic conditions depending on what is decided with the apartment proposal, according to the source.

If approved, The Lock Up project would be the second self-storage proposal to be green-lighted in Northbrook this year. The village currently has one storage facility in operation and four developments that have been approved. Some residents don’t believe self-storage is a good fit for the area. "I cannot fathom the need to have a storage building in a residential area," said resident Annette Levin. "That belongs in an industrial area."

"It doesn't enhance Northbrook," agreed trustee Todd Heller, who opposes the storage project. "It would have a relatively low impact, but I don't think this is what we want in a prominent position in Northbrook."

Another resident, Sheryl Zeidman, questioned the project’s size. "Do we want Northbrook's claim to fame to be the largest storage facility in the state?" she asked. "Is there room on the [welcome to Northbrook] sign?"

"This will not be the largest [in Illinois]," countered Bob Soudan, who represented The Lock Up at the public hearing. "It will not even be in the top 10. Just with ours, we have three bigger." The Lock Up, which has a large presence in greater Chicago, currently operates one facility in Northbrook.

The list price of the property recently dropped from $5.5 million to $4.8 million. The 36,000-square-foot building on the site formerly housed Lipson Alport Glass Associates. The building was built in 1960, according to real estate website LoopNet. It was awarded the Distinguished Chicago Building of the Year in 2004 from the American Institute of Architects, according to the source.

The building’s unusual design has made it unattractive to lease to multiple users and difficult to sell to a single buyer, the source reported. It isn’t clear if The Lock Up is planning to convert the structure into self-storage or if it would build an entirely new development.

The Lock Up Self Storage is the operating brand of family-owned Lock Up Development Group, an affiliate of BRB Development LLC, which has offered self-storage services since 1976. The company currently operates self-storage facilities in Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York. It owns and manages more than 1.6 million square feet of storage space.

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