The William Warren Group (WWG), a privately held real estate company that operates the StorQuest Self Storage brand, received approval for a conditional-use permit from the La Mesa, Calif., City Council last week, paving the way for a self-storage development on the southeast corner of Commercial Street and Center Drive. WWG has proposed a 110,346-square-foot storage facility on 1.4 acres. The three-story building would include 856 climate-controlled units comprising 79,908 square feet, according to the source.
The council’s 3-1 vote rejected an appeal filed by resident Christina Martin after the planning commission approved the conditional-use permit on Sept. 16. In her appeal, Martin contended the self-storage project was not consistent with the city’s general plan and argued the commission had ignored an industrial-zoning requirement to create jobs. The self-storage facility would have three to four employees and “displace” 20-25 office workers, the source reported. WWG’s employment projection includes construction workers and those maintaining the property.
Job creation was mentioned in 21 letters the commission received in August in opposition to the self-storage facility, according to the source. "You haven’t been able to figure out how to get a decent hotel built in La Mesa … but you're going to let a giant, ugly storage [sic] be built right on the freeway for all to see," wrote resident Claudia Almaguer.
In an Oct. 19 letter to the city council, Bill Hobin, president and CEO of WWG, said the project would “inject $14 million into the economy” and noted that self-storage has become an "incubator of small business, often serving as the home for startups, technology, e-commerce, and distribution-related businesses." The StorQuest facility will feature a conference room, onsite bellman, free truck and driver service, and WiFi, according to the source. It will also sell packing and shipping supplies.
Buildings adjacent to the storage site include warehouses and some commercial and light-industrial uses, including auto repair and retail, but project opponents said newer businesses include craft breweries and a winery.
"We only have about 1 percent of industrial area left,” said council member Ruth Sterling, prior to being the lone dissenting vote against the permit. “Is this what we want? The building is eight times as large as our library."
During the meeting, local property owner Dan Brophy said the StorQuest plan was “a cool project” and pointed out the area had previously included a “full-fledged junk yard,” according to the source. “The area is better with each development,” he said.
Founded in 1994 and based in Santa Monica, Calif., WWG acquires, develops and operates more than 100 self-storage facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, South Carolina and Texas.
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