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Coro Realty Advisors May Convert Cross Country Plaza to Self-Storage in Columbus, GA

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Coro Realty Advisors LLC, a real estate and property-management company, may convert a shopping center it owns in Columbus, Ga., to self-storage. The facility would be managed by Artisan Properties Inc., a self-storage owner and management company that operates nine sites in Georgia under the brand Storage Xxtra.

The Cross Country Plaza at 2041 Auburn Ave., the oldest shopping center on the street, comprises three buildings. New Leaf Consignment and a UPS Store share one building, while retailer Tuesday Morning occupies another, according to the source. Tuesday Morning already has plans to relocate, and New Leaf is also seeking a larger space. The third building, adjacent to the automotive store Tire Engineers, has been vacant for three years. The three structures comprise 55,000 square feet.

The property’s current zoning includes self-storage, and the conversion plan is in the early stages. “The buildings would basically look exactly like they do. It would all be interior, climate-controlled storage units,” plaza manager Vickie Smith told the source. “It’s not going to be your standard metal, roll-up door, self-storage unit, if we go that route. It’s going to be a first-class operation. That’s what Coro does in every operation that they do.”

Coro purchased the property, which dates to 1956, from Glenwood Development in 2013 for $36.6 million. A blog by MidTown Inc., an advocacy organization for the area, included details about the project from Coro President John Lundeen. The facility will feature new landscaping and streetscape, along with “screening adjacent to nearby residential areas,” the blog stated.

The blog was written in response to inquiries from concerned residents about the storage project, according to Anne King, executive director of MidTown. “Understandably, the post has met with considerable disappointment and frustration. Know that we share that same disappointment. Our vision is probably like yours: a village center with restaurants and retail,” King said. “We also recognize the investment that Coro Realty has made in our community in the face of a dramatically changing retail environment. They have a responsibility to be financially profitable, and a commitment to being a good neighbor.”

It’ll be about 60 days before Coro makes a decision about the project, Smith said, adding the company has struggled to find tenants for the three buildings. “We’ve been marketing the 200 building [next to Tire Engineers] for the last three and a half years. It’s very hard to get the national tenants and restaurants to look at Auburn Avenue because they’re not here, and they don’t understand the amount of traffic that is there.”

The lack of interest led Coro to “think outside of the box” in filling the structures that were originally built for commercial companies. “We’ve had businesses in and out of there. A lot of the community doesn’t support those smaller businesses, so one by one they’ve either located to north Columbus or they’ve closed,” she said. “We certainly want to do what’s right for the neighborhood, for the shopping center, for this whole area. So, we’re trying to come up with some different things that would work in these areas.”

Based in Atlanta, Coro specializes in acquisitions, construction management, development and disposition, financing, leasing, and portfolio management. It oversees commercial and residential properties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

 

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