A former Kmart store in Monroe has been repurposed as a self-storage facility, the latest in a string of big-box conversions changing defunct stores into offices, schools or warehouses.
As department store chains and traditional big-box retailers struggle with online retail and changing consumer preferences, there are a lot of stores closing and sitting empty. Kmart, Sears, Macy’s, HH Gregg and J.C. Penney are among those paring back their locations in an attempt to improve financial results.
In Charlotte, a former Super Kmart off Independence Boulevard has been turned into a call center and office space. On Arrowood Road, a former Walmart is also being turned into office space and a call center. On Freedom Drive, workers are renovating another former Kmart into a charter school affiliated with Movement Mortgage that’s opening this year.
Add the former Kmart across from Monroe Crossing mall to the list. Aston Properties paid $4 million for the building at 2120 West Roosevelt Boulevard last year, according to Union County property records. Since then, the company said it’s spent $1.7 million to upgrade the exterior and convert the interior into a climate-controlled self-storage facility.
The facility is managed by Extra Space Storage, a national company, and totals 70,000 square feet. Spaces for rent range from 25 to 300 square feet.
“With a highly visible location close to nearby residential communities, this property is well-suited for an attractive, safe storage facility,” said Jamie Kneisel, director of acquisitions and dispositions at Aston Properties. The Charlotte-based company plans to sell two outparcels on the site to a gas station and convenience store operator and a national restaurant company. Aston Properties didn’t disclose the buyer, but said it expects the deal to close during the fourth quarter.
Aston Properties has also turned a former Kmart in Harrisonburg, Va., into new retail space. And the company is converting a former Kmart in North Charleston into a call center for T-Mobile. That facility is expected to open early next year.
Across from the new Monroe self-storage facility, there’s still plenty of empty retail space. Sears, Kmart’s parent company, and J.C. Penney both announced plans to close their Monroe Crossing department stores earlier this year.