Ashley Commercial Group plans to convert an underutilized building at 151 W. Fourth St. into an indoor self-storage facility.
Self-storage was determined as a viable use because there are more people moving Downtown, but the closest self-storage facility is two miles away in Covington. The other nearby storage centers are in Camp Washington, Newport and Walnut Hills.
Crews have already started work on the building’s exterior and the Edgewood-based company recently got permission to make changes inside the historic commercial structure.
Cincinnati’s Historic Conservation Board granted Ashley Commercial Group a variance allowing it to redevelop the building for self-storage.
The company pledged to maintain the building’s historic and aesthetic integrity. Exterior alternations planned include installing a garage door and replacing an awning, according to a Monday presentation to the board.
After Ashley Commercial Group bought the building Feb. 18 for $3 million, officials determined the building’s increasing vacancy rate provided an opportunity to repurpose the building that offered office and retail space.
Pep Promotions and Lynn Imaging – which vacated its space several years ago – have leases open at the building. Ashley Commercial Group expects the building to be vacant by the 2016. The building had 91,705 square feet of leaseable space.
Company officials said a feasibility study also determined self-storage was a more economically viable option compared to other uses such as housing, offices, or being solely dedicated to retail use.
“With the typical apartment unit containing less than 1,000 square feet, there is not a lot of room for extra personal property,” according to a memo Cincinnati lawyer Barrett Tullis sent to the board supporting the variance. “The people moving Downtown need a place to store their belongings. Ashley is seeking to fill this demand.”
Once the storage operation is developed, loading is expected to take place at the back of the building in Benham Alley. The building’s first-floor is expected to remain as retail space.
Company officials don’t expect the variance to effect the community character, public health, safety or general welfare.