Update 1/13/15 - The Manatee County, Fla., Commission has approved Bob Morris’ proposal to convert a former grocery store to self-storage at his Bayshore Crossings retail plaza. The commission accepted the project despite some residential opposition and the planning commission’s 5-1 recommendation to reject it.
Keith Crawford, a resident at a nearby condominium complex, was in favor of the project because he said the empty grocery store attracted illegal activity. Fourteen condos have been burglarized at his complex, and he believes a self-storage facility will provide the neighborhood with better security, according to the source.
"Security cameras will be everywhere, and employees will be onsite," said Caleb Grimes, an attorney representing Morris and the R and M General Partnership application.
11/14/14 - The Manatee County, Fla., Planning Commission has rejected a proposal to convert a former grocery store to self-storage. Bob Morris, owner of the Bayshore Crossings Plaza at 6015 26th St. W. believes storage is the best use for the property because he’s been unable to secure a retail tenant for four years. The commission voted 5-1 against recommending the project.
The grocery store comprises 30,000 square feet, but Morris proposed a 57,241-square-foot storage facility for the space. Commissioner Albert Horrigan Jr. said the facility would adversely affect other businesses in the retail center.
Horrigan’s argument was backed by local residents who said the storage facility would obscure the visibility of other businesses. They also expressed fears that the project could negatively impact property values and said it isn’t compatible with the Bayshore Gardens neighborhood, according to the source.
"Our center is still a retail center, but it's more of a service center," Morris told the commission. "The short of it is, at this point, based on all my experience and efforts, this seems to be the highest and best use [for the property].”
Although the commission has advised against the proposal, the Manatee County Commission will still review the project and make the final decision, the source reported.