Mixed-Use Self-Storage Project Considered for Lake Havasu City, AZ

<p>Land that was once earmarked for retail development in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., could soon become a mixed-use property that would include self-storage, a boat dealership and a fast-food restaurant. The Lake Havasu Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to the city&rsquo;s design for the Anderson Autoplex Planned Development on the north side of town. The proposal will now go to the city council, according to the source. </p>

Land that was once earmarked for retail development in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., could soon become a mixed-use property that would include self-storage, a boat dealership and a fast-food restaurant. The Lake Havasu Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s design for the Anderson Autoplex Planned Development on the north side of town. The proposal will now go to the city council, according to the source.

If approved, the facility would include indoor, temperature-controlled units for boat and RV storage. They would be outfitted as “mini man caves,” said George Sharma, owner of Desert Resort Properties Inc., who served as the buyer’s representative during the commission meeting. “I recently did an experiment on London Bridge Road. We built 198 units, and we did one phase completely [with] mini man caves. They all sold like hotcakes,” Sharma said. “I still have people coming to me looking for those places.”

Another party is interested in opening a boat dealership on a nearby lot, and there’s space for a fast-food restaurant. Traffic to the storage facility and boat dealership could stimulate more business to the area, Sharma said.

The original plan for the Anderson Autoplex, a hub for car dealerships or retail, was drafted by the city more than a decade ago, the source reported. However, the land owner said the property has failed to attract any vehicle dealerships or retailers. “We have been to car dealerships everywhere. They do not want to move to Lake Havasu City. We have entertained and worked with this for the last 10 years. I’ve wanted to sell the property. I bought it initially because it was a good place for our dealership, I felt,” said Richard Anderson, owner of the Anderson Auto Group, which operates three Arizona dealerships. “Now, after 10 years and several million dollars invested—$4 million, which was infrastructure—nobody wants it.”

Dean Baker, owner of real estate firm Lake Havasu City Properties, launched a marketing campaign to attract big-box retailers, including Costco and Target, but also received no interest. “The property has been sitting there for 10 years. It could be another 10 years because retail obviously isn’t working out there as we look at the mall with so many vacancies,” he said.

Prior to the vote, some commission members were wary of straying from the original plan for the area. “I don’t have a problem with storage units, but this appears to be cannibalizing the original intent of that development out there to accommodate more storage units,” said chairman Jim Harris.

Commissioners Dan McGowan and John Kendig also voiced concerns that changing the intent for the land could open it up to a “hodgepodge of unintended uses” or more storage, the source reported.

Following the testimonies from Anderson, Baker and Sharma, the commission voted to approve the amendment. Kendig abstained from the vote.           

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