Elmwood Racine LLC, owner of the Elmwood Plaza shopping center in Racine, Wis., has applied for a conditional-use permit to convert a sizable portion of the center to self-storage. The project would be conducted in two phases and create about 390 storage units inside 68,000 square feet of space. If approved, the renovations and operations of the facility would be handled by U-Stor-It, an Illinois-based self-storage operator, according to the source.
The permit is necessary because the city’s zoning ordinance allows self-storage only in industrial areas, according to Matt Sadowski, Racine’s assistant director of city development and principal planner. The city’s development staff has recommended approval for the permit, the source reported.
The first phase of the project would include 17,000 square feet of storage space inside the upper level of the plaza, where a rental office would also be located. The second phase would convert the lower level of a former Goldblatt Bros. department store, which is accessible from the rear of the retail center at 3701 Durand Ave., according to the source.
The plaza has a total of 340,000 square feet, but only 50 percent of available space is currently occupied. “Just considering the market, we feel [self-storage] could be a very good alternative use,” Peggy Celaya, asset manager for Elmwood Racine, told the source. “We’re still committed to the retail use because we think it’s the highest and best use.”
Larry Nora, president of U-Stor-It, told the source his company has previously converted a handful of shopping centers to self-storage. He estimated the project would cost about $1 million.
U-Stor-It currently operates five self-storage facilities in Illinois.
- The Journal Times: Elmwood Plaza Proposes Adding Self-Storage Units