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Main Street Climate Storage has opened near Finley Stadium with 27,000 square feet of space.
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The former Food Lion on Mountain Creek Road near Signal Mountain Road is slated to hold 81,728 square feet of self storage with 718 units.

Storage sites

New or planned self-storage units going in or near downtown include:

2431 Williams St.

1420 Carter St.

1105 Dayton Blvd.

816 Mountain Creek Road

Downtown Chattanooga is seeing so much new housing that residents needing more room to keep their stuff are helping spur a surge in self-storage units in the area, experts say.

One of the latest proposed self-storage projects calls for a four-story, 17,000-square-foot facility just off South Broad Street.

The proposal is at least the fourth self-storage project to emerge downtown, or within a 10-minute or so drive of the central city, over the last few months as developers of the units battle for potential clients moving into the central city.

Ben Berry, of Cleveland, Tenn.-based Berry Engineers, said the proposed South Broad site at 2431 Williams St. backs up to Interstate 24 and is less desirable for residential units.

"It's not on Broad or Market. It's not on a main corridor," he said about the tract. "It's not as prominent for retail use and restaurants. The owners thought it would be a good use."

A zoning change from R-3 residential to urban general commercial zone is being sought before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. Berry wouldn't comment on the project's cost.

About 2,100 apartment units will be available to rent downtown in the next two years, according to estimates, helping fuel the need for more self storage. Also, more townhouses and condos are going up or planned in the central city, though to a lesser extent.

Berry said most of the new residential units tend to be "pretty small."

"One thing that goes away is closet space," he said. "A lot of people who live in that type of setting use climate-controlled storage for what they don't need on a daily basis."

But, Berry added, residents need the storage to be close enough to make it convenient for them.

Kim White, who heads the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co., has expressed concerns about prime central city property being used for self storage.

"That might be a good fit," she said of the South Broad location. "People need more storage. I hope it's done well."

Two years ago, White was critical of the building of Uncle Bob's Self Storage at 1380 Broad St., saying the tract could have had a better use. But the $4 million storage facility, one of five Uncle Bob's Self Storage facilities in the Chattanooga area, opened in 2014 with 582 storage units targeted at downtown apartment and condominium owners.

John Mitchum, a real estate broker in Chattanooga for ReMax Renaissance Realtors, said multi-family housing is "a hot ticket item." There are a lot of rooftops on the North Shore, North Chattanooga, and Hill City and more are going up, Mitchum said.

"People who live in apartments need somewhere to store their stuff," he said.

Mitchum is overseeing the planned sale of the Great Value Inn on Dayton Boulevard, located just past the Stringer's Ridge Tunnel and close to the North Shore. The hotel site is pegged to hold 600 self-storage units in a $6.3 million project that's also to include a commercial center.

"Occupancy rates are still high" for apartments, Mitchum said. He quipped that self-storage units are providing an alternative "to stuffing it under your bed."

Main Street Climate Storage recently opened at 1420 Carter St. near Finley Stadium in the conversion of a vacant warehouse. That 27,000-square-foot facility offers a variety of unit types and sizes for customers. It's owned locally by Riverview Partners LLC and managed by Absolute Storage Management.

"Downtown is a great location because how central it is to everything," said Grace Anderson of Absolute Storage.

Meanwhile, minutes from downtown, a Chattanooga shopping center on Mountain Creek Road that formerly held a Food Lion store will be converted into self-storage space in a nearly $6 million project, officials have said.

A venture between Ziff Properties of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and Reliant Self Storage is expected to redevelop the Mountain Creek Road center, said Christian Chamblee, Ziff's chief operating officer and director of acquisitions.

The center will be expanded to hold 81,728 square feet of self storage with 718 units.

In addition, Signal Mountain Self Storage nearby, at Mountain Creek and W roads, announced plans this summer to expand by 200 units and 19,580 square feet, increasing the site to 600 units, according to the company.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

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