Value Store It Inc., which operates 12 properties on the East Coast under the Value Store It Self Storage brand, celebrated the grand opening of its facility in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on July 17. The company converted a 108-year-old landmark at 320 Washington St. that has a long history in the community, having served as a manufacturing plant for several industries. The building was fully restored to its former composition, according to a press release.
The five-story building was originally a silver factory and warehouse for the Mauser Manufacturing Co. In 1903, Mauser merged with Hayes & McFarland Co. and Roger Williams Silverware Co., forming Mt. Vernon Co. Silversmiths.
In the 1960s, the building was purchased by APF Master Frame Makers Inc., a manufacturer of mirrors and frames for museums, public and private collections, galleries, and designers. APF was the largest company of its kind in America, employing several generations of local families, according to the release. Once the business moved to a larger, more centralized location, the Mount Vernon building was vacant for about 10 years. Value Store It bought it a few years ago.
“Once we found out about the history of the location, we decided that, along with the conversion, the building should be restored to its original composition,” said Carlos Diaz, vice president and general manager.
The conversion took two years and cost nearly $2 million to complete. The original Chicago-style brick was re-pointed, pressure-cleaned and acid-washed to look brand new. Similar work was done to the marble finishes on the outside window sills and main entranceway. Value Store It replaced the eight roof sections and removed overgrown grass and other foliage from the property. The building interior was covered with lead-based paint, which was sandblasted down to the original natural-wood finish.
The original structure contained several secret passageways and rooms, which were discovered during the renovation. "These came as a surprise to us, and even to people who had been inside the building before,” said Bryan Lekas, vice president of operations.
The building also features a tower clock, similar to the one used in the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.” Value Store It installed a digital drive, and the clock is fully functional, requiring no manual operation.
The conversion created 65,000 square feet of storage space. The building is now equipped with a new retail office, restrooms, elevators, heating and air conditioning, lighting, and plumbing.
Hina Sherwani, first assistant corporation counsel for Mount Vernon City Hall, said the restoration is appreciated by the community’s citizens. “Preserving the architecture and relics from the factory allowed many of our citizens to reflect on their own family’s history. It is a wonderful feeling to experience, learn and feel connected to the people, ideas and events of our great past to see what they saw and touch what they touched.”
Based in Miami, Value Store It is a privately owned company that operates more than 1,000,000 square feet of self-storage space in Connecticut, Florida and New York. Its facilities offer commercial and residential storage, truck rentals, and moving and packing supplies.