A former Ultra Foods grocery store in Gary, Ind., could be converted to self-storage. Midwest Self-Storage Development LLC intends to transform the 69,000-square-foot retail property on Ridge Road. The retail property includes a Menards home-improvement store and a few smaller businesses that could remain onsite, according to the source.
If approved, the self-storage facility would feature only indoor units. “You won’t see 50 or 60 garage doors all in a row; they’ll be indoors, with access to the premises controlled through a single entrance,” Todd Leeth, an attorney representing Midwest, recently told the common council. “We actually think those rows of garage doors are ugly. This will be better looking for the community.”
The project has been recommended for approval by the board of zoning appeals, despite the submission of a petition with 600 signatures opposed to the development. Leeth told the council he believes many of the signatures are “suspect,” the source reported. Some community members would like another grocery store to go into the space, but an Aldi’s grocery store is within a block of the site, according to Leeth.
“This really is a good way to repurpose a building like this,” Leeth said. “It’s difficult to find replacements to fill the space that was once a big-box store.”
Midwest wants Menards to sign a new lease to stay in the center after its current agreement expires next year. The developer is also open to having the other small businesses remain. One caveat to that plan, though, is Midwest may want them to move into a new structure, so it can convert the one they’re in to administrative offices for the self-storage operation, Leeth told the council.
Midwest is based in Valparaiso, Ind.
Chicago Tribune, Developer Wants to Turn Former Gary Supermarket Into Storage Units