Com­pany wants to turn former Gary su­per­mar­ket into in­door stor­age units

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Gre­gory Te­jeda Post-Tri­bune Gre­gory Te­jeda is a free­lance re­porter for the Post-Tri­bune.

A former su­per­mar­ket build­ing in Gary could wind up be­ing con­verted into a stor­age unit, with the 69,000 square feet of space al­low­ing for stor­age lock­ers con­tained com­pletely in­doors.

Mid­west Self-Stor­age De­vel­op­ment LLC of Val­paraiso wants to buy the former Ul­tra Foods site on Ridge Road be­tween Col­fax and Cal­houn streets where a Me­nards store is lo­cated. Todd Leeth, an at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Mid­west Self-Stor­age, told the Gary Com­mon Coun­cil’s Plan­ning Com­mit­tee that the com­pany wants Me­nards to sign a new lease when its cur­rent agree­ment for the site ex­pires in 2019.

Mid­west Self-Stor­age wants to take the su­per­mar­ket space that sits va­cant and con­vert it into a build­ing filled with stor­age lock­ers that peo­ple could rent for their per­sonal use.

There is an­other struc­ture on the prop­erty that has some smaller-scale busi­nesses oper­at­ing, and Leeth said the com­pany would like to keep them — although pos­si­bly in a to-be-built struc­ture nearby while the cur­rent store­fronts could be con­verted into ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices for the self-stor­age fa­cil­ity.

Leeth told coun­cil mem­bers that one po­ten­tial ben­e­fit to the self-stor­age plan is that the lock­ers would not be ex­posed to the out­doors, as they are in many other self-stor­age fa­cil­i­ties.

“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. ... We ac­tu­ally think those rows of garage doors are ugly, this will be bet­ter look­ing for the com­mu­nity,” Leeth said.

Leeth also said that a self­s­tor­age fa­cil­ity might be the best op­tion that Gary would be ca­pa­ble of find­ing to take over the one-time su­per­mar­ket.

“This re­ally is a good way to re­pur­pose a build­ing like this,” he said. “It’s dif­fi­cult to find re­place­ments to fill the space that was once a big box store.”

Gary Board of Zon­ing Ap­peals Di­rec­tor Mary Hurt said her board gave its rec­om­men­da­tion to the project, de­spite the fact that no one in­di­cated sup­port to let­ters the city sent out to ad­ja­cent prop­erty own­ers.

She also ac­knowl­edged a pe­ti­tion that had some 600 sig­na­tures in op­po­si­tion to the project, with many indicating they’d pre­fer to have an­other gro­cery store re­place Ul­tra Foods.

Leeth said he be­lieves many of the sig­na­tures are sus­pect, and coun­cil mem­ber Linda Bar­nesCald­well said she is pleased that this project would at least fill the space with a func­tion­ing busi­ness — al­beit not one that would cre­ate many jobs.

Leeth also said that in­so­far as dis­plac­ing a food store is con­cerned, the site is within a block of an Aldi’s gro­cery store.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.