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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Feb. 11, 202108:36 AM EST

Closed Beach Boulevard Kmart under conversion for drive-thru self-storage

The city issued a permit Feb. 10 for the $3.36 million construction project.

The city issued a permit Feb. 10 for Rapid Building Solutions LLC to build-out the closed Beach Boulevard Kmart for a drive-thru self-storage at a project cost of $3.36 million.

Partners affiliated with the Florida-based self-storage construction company bought the store at 5751 Beach Blvd. in early 2020 to introduce the concept.

The permit is for 125,632 square feet of interior build-out.

Wayne Brodrick, vice president of sales and operations for Rapid Building Solutions, said in February 2020 that his group estimates a $7 million investment in the purchase and renovation.

Before the pandemic, he expected it to open last summer. COVID-19 led to shutdowns in March.

“This building is going to look first-class,” he said then.

He said the building will be renovated into a drive-thru self-storage facility. 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.

There will be a main drive-thru and internal hallways.

He said the 800 units in the one-story 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 in January 2020 for the 108,341-square-foot building and two smaller properties on 8.16 acres at northwest Beach and University boulevards.

The parking lot at the Beach Boulevard Kmart is being developed by another company.

The former Kmart discount store was built in 1969 and has been vacant since it closed in 2012. The adjacent building is 36,563 square feet, property records show.

Morris Bank of Dublin, Georgia, issued a $5.8 million mortgage.

Brodrick said a year ago 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.”

He said a building of 100,000 to 125,000 square feet “lends itself well to storage facilities.”

“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,” Brodrick said.

The Kmart building is separately owned from the Boulevard Crossing retail project that is under construction in the large former Kmart parking lot.

Boulevard Crossing is under development by Jacksonville-based Hallmark Partners, which is developing about 8 acres of the parking lot at 5700 Beach Blvd. into retail and restaurant use and professional offices.

Another former Kmart along San Jose Boulevard is being converted into retail space by Ash Properties.

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