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LifeStorage Seeks Zoning for Self-Storage Development Project in Northbrook, IL

California-based self-storage operator LifeStorage LP is seeking initial zoning approval before it purchases a 3.2-acre land parcel in Northbrook, Ill. The company has proposed to tear down an existing office building and erect a three-story storage facility.

February 17, 2015

3 Min Read
LifeStorage Seeks Zoning for Self-Storage Development Project in Northbrook, IL

LSC Development LLC, an affiliate of California-based self-storage operator LifeStorage LP is seeking initial zoning approval before it purchases a 3.2-acre land parcel in Northbrook, Ill. The company has proposed to tear down an existing office building and erect a three-story storage facility.

The property at 990 Skokie Boulevard is the former site of Lipson Alport Glass & Associates (LAGA). Designed by architect Joe Valerio, the structure was built 11 years ago and won the Distinguished Chicago Building of the Year award from the American Institute of Architects. LAGA vacated the building in October and put it on the market. However, its design, which includes sloped floors, window-lined rooms and irregular-angled walls, has made it a hard sell, the source reported. The listing price has dropped from $5.5 million to $4.8 million.

Chris Cummins, senior vice president of Colliers International, the second brokerage firm that’s attempted to sale the property, told the source the building is too small to accommodate business growth. He also said most buyers seek an open concept, which is lacking in the existing structure.

LSC presented its proposal for a 120,000-square-foot storage facility with 900 to 1,000 units to the Village of Northbrook Plan Commission Board for referral on Feb. 10. Only one village trustee disliked the storage project, according to the source. The proposal makes sense for the area, as the project would be near a senior complex and an apartment building, said trustee James Karagianis, who chairs the Village’s Building and Zoning Committee.

Trustee Robert Israel said he wasn’t sure about the storage development at first, but now believes it will be a good use for the site. He also said other LifeStorage properties are attractive.

Trustee Todd Heller is wary of the storage project, as well as several others that are in various stages of development in Northbrook. "This is not my vision of Northbrook. Northbrook is not Self-Storage Central,” Heller said on March 24.  

In addition to the LifeStorage proposal, the Village approved the development of a Metro Self-Storage in February. In March, Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage real estate investment trust, requested code changes to convert a 67,000-square-foot empty building at 4201 Lake Cook Road to self-storage. The company is partnering with the owner of the office building, Michael Nortman, on the project.  

Extra Space has requested a Cook County 7C tax break to support the conversion of the building, which has been vacant for eight years. In addition to having about 1,000 storage units, about 3 percent of the building would be designated for retail. The project would also include a modern 63,000-square-foot office building to be built in an open area to the south, the source reported. 

Although the trustees agreed they don’t want the building to remain vacant, they’re concerned about code changes and giving up tax money, the source reported. The Extra Space project has been referred to the city’s plan commission for hearings. 

"What is the good that this brings to Northbrook? It doesn't generate [sales] tax dollars. It doesn't generate employment," Heller said. "Are we bringing in 100 good tech jobs? No. We're bringing in space for people to store stuff." 

A public hearing to discuss the LifeStorage project has yet to be scheduled.  

LifeStorage operates more than 75 self-storage properties in nine states, with a heavy concentration in the Chicagoland area. 

Salt Lake City-based Extra Space owns or operates 1,050 self-storage properties in 35 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. The company’s properties comprise approximately 750,000 units and 80 million square feet of rentable space. 

Headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., Metro Storage is a privately owned, fully integrated real estate operating company specializing in the acquisition, development and management of self-storage facilities nationwide.

Sources:

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