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One of the nation's biggest self-storage businesses will soon open a self-storage facility in Brainerd on the site of the former Big Lot's store in Brainerd.

CubeSmart, the third largest operator of self-storage facilities in the country with 793 facilities in the United States, will enter the Chattanooga market by operating a rental storage space complex with more than 250 indoor, climate-controlled storage units of varying sizes.

Bernard Frogel, a a Los Angeles developer who previously lived in Chattanooga and owns the property, said he plans to eventually expand the facility to more than 100,000 square feet of storage space.

Construction crews are currently renovating the 50,000-square-foot retail space built for Hill's Department Store and later used by Big Lot's in the Hill's Plaza Shopping Center at 5952 Brainerd Road. Frogel estimates the project will cost about $3.5 million and should be complete in the next four months.

"Since the airport pulled down most of the retail development across the street (on the north side of Lee Highway), the retail centers in this area have about disappeared so we figured having a storage facility near the airport would be appropriate," said Frogel, who has owned the Hill's Plaza Shopping Center since 1996. "We're looking to open around the first of May."

In addition to the storage space, CubeSmart will offer a range of services including package receipt, item storage and retrieval, free Wi-Fi, workstations and printing, copying and faxing services. A full range of boxes and moving supplies will be available for purchase at the location, and comprehensive moving and organization services will be offered through affiliated service providers, Frogel said.

Based in Malvern, Pa., CubeSmart already operates seven storage facilities in Tennessee and 18 storage facilities in metro Atlanta.

Frogel was the developer and former owner of the East Ridge Flea Market and the Abe Shavin Ace Hardware Stores. Currently, Frogel owns two commercial centers in the Chattanooga area.

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