Augusta councilors reject massive self-storage enterprise proposal at former Kmart web site
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Augusta councilors reject massive self-storage enterprise proposal at former Kmart web site

Augusta councilors reject massive self-storage enterprise proposal at former Kmart web site

Augusta councilors have rejected a proposal to show the vacant former Kmart area on Western Avenue right into a self-storage facility. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — Metropolis councilors have rejected a controversial proposal to redevelop the vacant and run down former Kmart web site as a big self-storage enterprise.

Councilors and residents stated the proposed new use wouldn’t be a great match with what they and neighbors wish to see that a part of Western Avenue develop into.

Representatives of the would-be developer, Las Vegas-based Patriot Holdings, stated the plan to transform the vacant former Kmart constructing right into a self-storage constructing would comply with a nationwide development of dying retail buying plazas being transformed into “Class A” climate-controlled self-storage amenities to fulfill the rising demand for cupboard space. When that storage facility crammed up, the developer had deliberate to construct a brand new three-story constructing within the car parking zone that will additionally home storage items.

Brandon Mitchell of Malone Business Brokers, a agency representing Patriot Holdings within the proposal, stated the use would match with the remainder of the heavily-commercial Western Avenue. He famous whereas driving to the location from the interstate that he handed quite a few retail companies corresponding to Lowe’s, Goal, quick meals eating places, Planet Health, Applebees, and added the UHaul web site straight throughout Western Avenue from the previous Kmart Plaza has self-storage items already.

“Each enterprise underneath the solar is on that strip, and this is the reason we really feel this plaza proper there, this Class A facility, would work nicely with this retail location,” Mitchell informed metropolis councilors Thursday evening. “We’re seeing these kind of amenities now being constructed all through the nation and, truthfully, these previous buying facilities that may’t be full, that is the development, nationally. This location is nice for a business use like this.”

Councilors acknowledged a lot of Western Avenue is very developed with different business makes use of however stated the tip the place the Kmart web site is situated is surrounded on each side by conventional residential neighborhoods. And, some councilors stated, they and neighbors have hopes for a greater, extra walkable future for that finish of Western Avenue. They stated Western Avenue was first developed commercially earlier than town had zoning, and was, earlier than that improvement, lined with bushes and chic estates.

“The historical past in Augusta with Western Avenue is, all of us hate it with a ardour, so that you’re up in opposition to that,” At-Massive Councilor Heather Pouliot stated. “It was completed earlier than we had zoning within the metropolis and we’ve been making a concerted effort to return to having a extra lovely Western Avenue, particularly on this space. I simply don’t assume (the self-storage proposal) suits within the space.”

A self-storage enterprise is just not an allowed use in that zone, so the enterprise wanted councilors to approve a contract zone to permit it as a conditional use there.

The developer revised the proposal, changing the first-proposed, garage-style exterior storage items deliberate to be constructed within the former Kmart car parking zone after councilors criticized its aesthetics for such a outstanding spot. New plans referred to as for a three-story constructing that regarded extra like an workplace constructing, with inside storage items. Councilors stated the revised proposal was an enchancment however postponed the proposal after neighbors to the location expressed considerations about it final month.

Metropolis councilors then rejected the proposed contract zone in a 6-2 vote Thursday evening, seemingly killing the undertaking.

Ward 3 Councilor Mike Michaud, who with Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Judkins have been the one supporters of the proposal on the council, stated the developer had addressed councilors’ considerations concerning the aesthetics of the primary proposal. Michaud and Judkins stated the developer deserved an opportunity to redevelop the vacant Kmart constructing and revitalize the property, which he fears will now stay in its run-down state. The property is situated in Ward 1.

“Cleansing that property up and investing in that property, we’ve got somebody prepared to try this now, and I believe it will be an enormous mistake to let this property go any longer as a result of these strip malls, brick-and-mortar shops, are phasing out,” Michaud stated. “I believe we have to transfer together with the occasions and I’m very a lot in favor of Patriot Holdings doing what they wish to do at this facility. I believe once they’re completed it is going to be a wonderful web site and never un-enhancing to the encompassing neighborhoods.”

Resident Bruce Holmes, proprietor of Century 21 Enterprise Ltd. actual property in Augusta who stated a agency he owned used to handle the Kmart plaza, urged metropolis officers to hunt a better and higher use for the location. He stated the property presents spectacular views of the state capitol advanced from the second ground of the Kmart constructing, which is presently vacant workplace area. He stated Western Avenue is a big gateway into Augusta and town has an obligation not simply to its residents but additionally to the state to assist respect and promote the integrity of the world across the state capitol advanced, and a self-storage facility so near the advanced wouldn’t try this.

As a substitute, he prompt town take a management position to work with the property proprietor and promote the event of 20 to 40 condo items on the location the place the Kmart constructing is now. Having such clientele may attract new retail companies corresponding to espresso outlets, eating places and health-related companies, in addition to for current companies corresponding to a laundromat on the web site now, Holmes stated.

“Augusta wants housing and housing might be the financial answer and the reply to the issue the builders are presently having with a dying plaza,” Holmes stated. “There’s a nice alternative, this can be a fabulous web site.”

Nevertheless Richard McGoldrick, proprietor of the property for the final twenty years, stated they’ve spent the final three years attempting to draw new retail tenants to the plaza and a Massachusetts housing developer studied the potential to redevelop the location with housing. However they discovered it will be so pricey to take action that the rents wouldn’t be inexpensive.

“It’s completely unrealistic to make that flats,” McGoldrick stated. “We’ve tried, imagine me, we’ve tried very exhausting to make one thing occur there.”

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