After the $7 million project is complete, the building will comprise 800 climate controlled units.
Partners affiliated with Florida-based self-storage construction company Rapid Building Solutions LLC bought the closed Kmart store along Beach Boulevard to introduce a drive-thru experience.
Wayne Brodrick, vice president of sales and operations for Rapid Building Solutions, said Feb. 7 his group estimates a $7 million investment in the purchase and renovation of the property at 5751 Beach Blvd.
He expects it will open in July or August.
“This building is going to look first-class,” he said.
Brodrick said the building will be renovated into a drive-thru self-storage facility with no external access.
Customers will enter the building through a remote-access high-speed commercial rollup door, drive to the unit and drive out when completed. The building will be climate-controlled.
“You are out of the elements of wind, rain, humidity and heat,” Brodrick said.
There will be a main drive-thru and internal hallways.
Brodrick said the 800 units in the one-story, 100,000-square-foot building will range from 5-by-5 lockers to 15-by-30 drive-up units.
Storage Units Jacksonville LLC, led by Rapid Building Solutions LLC in Winter Garden, paid $3 million Jan. 30 for the 108,341-square-foot building and two smaller properties on 8.16 acres at northwest Beach and University boulevards.
Morris Bank of Dublin, Georgia, issued a $5.8 million mortgage.
Brodrick said his group hasn't decided on the third-party manager it will hire to run the project.
Brodrick said data and research show that there are not more than 10 vehicles at a storage facility at any given time, meaning that access should be easy.
Brodrick said he is a partner with Francis Webster, the managing partner, and Anthony Kostantinidis in the venture.
“We have been in the self-storage business for 20 years,” Brodrick said. What's new is “the concept of driving into the building and accessing your climate-controlled unit.”
The building made sense.
“The redevelopment of a Kmart building lends itself well to this product, so we are seeing more and more of these structures and closed Kmarts servicing a need for storage, and it's a good use of a building,” he said.
He said a building of 100,000 to 125,000 square feet “lends itself well to storage facilities.”
The Kmart building is separately owned and will be separately developed from the Boulevard Crossing retail project that is under construction in the large former Kmart parking lot.
Storage Units Jacksonville LLC bought the property from 188 Sundry Trail LLC of South Daytona.
That company is led by John Hinton, who said in September that he envisioned turning the closed Kmart into self-storage, a warehouse showroom, a food store and retail space for lease.
Hinton planned to renovate the Kmart and various stores in the center, totaling 138,000 square feet.
He said he intended to open one of his John’s Appliance & Bedding superstores there.
Hinton said by email Feb. 7 that he had not listed the center for sale. “But I was approached by several parties wanting to purchase,” he said.
Hinton bought the 7.2-acre Kmart property Aug. 28 for $1.875 million from Bessemer Improvement Co. of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Hinton said he had looked forward to being a neighbor to Boulevard Crossing, which is under development by Jacksonville-based Hallmark Partners,.
Hallmark Partners is led by co-founder and principal Jeff Conn.
Hinton said in September his group bought additional property from Conn to use for parking, giving him a site of more than 8 acres.
The 108,341-square-foot former Kmart discount store was built in 1969 and has been vacant since the Kmart closed in 2012. The adjacent building is 36,563 square feet, property records show.
Hallmark Partners is developing about 8 acres of the parking lot at 5700 Beach Blvd. into retail and restaurant use and professional offices.
Conn has estimated the completed project at $10 million to $12 million.
“Site work is almost complete. We have leases with tenants for our first building that will allow us to start construction in about 60 days,” Conn said Feb. 7.
McDonald's is under construction and could open by the end of the month, he said.
Brodrick said the location is attractive. “That whole center has been completely redeveloped,” he said.