City Denies Menards Self Storage Conversion Project in Janesville, WI

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Update on 5/21/13 – The Janesville, Wis., planning commission denied Menards Self Storage’s request for a conditional use permit to convert its former retail building into a self-storage facility. The commission rejected the proposal by a 5-1 vote.

Menards could still appeal the decision to the zoning board of appeals and then the circuit court. The city council will not review the matter.


Wisconsin self-storage operator Menards is seeking a conditional-use permit to build climate-controlled storage units inside a building it owns in Janesville, Wis., but city staff has recommended against the proposal. The city would prefer the 15-acre site be redeveloped into a destination shopping area.

The property is in a commercial area near a highway and Interstate 39/90. In advising against the project, city staff said they believed self-storage would negatively impact neighboring properties and the facility would “impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district.”

Best known in the Midwest as a home-improvement retailer, Menards originally developed the site for retail in 1984, but the property has been vacant since 2008 when the company opened another home-improvement center nearby. The lot includes a 76,000-square-foot retail sales building and two freestanding buildings comprising more than 24,000 square feet. The main building would be converted to interior, climate-controlled units, and the two smaller buildings would offer traditional self-storage.

Menards’ self-storage facilities in Eau Claire and Sheboygan were similar conversion projects, according to the company, which also said there is local demand for climate-controlled storage options. The company’s Eau Claire facility is 98 percent occupied.

“It doesn’t make much sense for a building to sit empty when a small investment can be made that will turn it into a business,” said real estate representative Tyler Edwards in a letter to the city on behalf of Menards officials.

If the city’s planning commission votes against the proposal, Menards could appeal the decision to the zoning board of appeals and then the circuit court. The city council will not review the matter, according to the source.

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