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Thursday, June 7, 2018

SafeShip Proposing to Build Self-Storage Business On US-27

A rendering of the street view of the proposed self-storage business to be located at 1420 and 1424 Alexandria Pike.

Two rental properties on US-27 are slated to be torn down to make space for a new self-storage business that will be part of SafeShip.

Bob Heil, principal, president and CEO of KLH Engineers, submitted a Zone Change & Development Plan on May 16 for 1420 and 1424 Alexandria Pike, two properties located across the street from the Shell gas station on US-27. Each lot contains a single-family home that had previously been used as rental properties. These properties will be torn down.

"The self-storage business will be a part of SafeShip," Heil says, a company that is owned by Bob Heil's son, Elliot Heil. "SafeShip has to turn down storage requests from current and prospective customers almost daily because they lack the space to accommodate those requests. There is high demand for self storage and that demand is projected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future."

The two-story building will be accessed by customers from a second-floor entrance at SafeShip's parking lot. The approximately 43,000-square-foot building will contain 140 storage units per floor, ranging in size from 5' x 5' to 10' x 15'. The entire building will be climate controlled, which Bob Heil says is a feature highly desired by self-storage customers.

"As one can see, this building looks nothing like the industrial self-storage businesses most people are accustomed to," Heil says. "We have been very sensitive to the aesthetic of the building, because like our neighbors, we want to see the neighborhood enhanced. We feel like we have been successful in doing so with the other properties we own, 1538 Alexandria Pike (the former IGA building) and SafeShip (the former Anita's restaurant)."

But not everyone is pleased with the proposed development.

"As a long-time resident of Fort Thomas it saddens me to see the landscape of our side of the town change so drastically," says Lori Gibbs, who owns a house on Crowell Ave. "I would think someone would want to rehab those homes as they are in our spectacular school district."

Heil says the location has two distinct advantages. "The first is that our customers will be able to enter a single secure building in one of the safest cities in America; they won't have to travel to an isolated industrial park to access their belongings," he says. "Secondly, SafeShip will be offering 'concierge services,' whereby customers can request that their items be retrieved from their storage lockers and shipped or delivered directly to them."

Heil says that according to Scott Meyers, an expert in the self-storage industry, "self storage is coming to Main Street." According to Meyers, Heils says, "the trend is seeing self-storage businesses closer and closer to central business districts, and not just in general commercial zones, but also in highly sought-after retail locations. My guess is that very few people realize that there are two self-storage businesses right in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. Also, according to Meyers, more and more self-storage businesses are supported by truck rental and pack-and-ship businesses."

1420 and 1424 Alexandria Pike are the proposed properties slated for tear down. Google Street View. 
As baby boomers age and downsize, and as millennials live in smaller and smaller footprints, Heil says the need for off-site storage will continue to grow. "Thus far, we have gotten a lot of positive response from the community regarding the need for the service as well as the aesthetic of the building we are proposing," Heil says. "We are excited to be bringing this much-needed service to our community."

Community members in support of or opposed to this zoning change are invited to a public hearing set for June 20 at the Fort Thomas City Building in the Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m. In addition to the zone change and development plan presented to the Planning Commission, a text amendment that would include a self storage facility as a permitted use in a General Commercial zone will be considered.

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