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Big Box Resurrection in Winston-Salem Creates a First-Class Multi-Purpose Storage Facility

Universal Storage Solutions and Universal Storage Group team up for an adaptive re-use of an obsolete big box building.

A sour economy has caused a big box bust in many areas of the country, leaving gaping holes that are hard to fill and exposing some retail properties to the threat of obsolescence. Partners in Universal Storage Solutions and real estate veterans, Gary Pharo, AJ Ross, David Dixon, and Ron Crowell, have been able to shift from their traditional focus on building new centers to focusing on creative ways to back-fill empty big box spaces. Creative and adaptive re-use of former big box retail spaces is a major industry task in today’s environment. The transformation of the former Harris Teeter grocery store on Jonestown Road in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a prime example of recycling an existing building into a more useful and better-suited purpose.

Universal Storage Solutions has transformed the former 53,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery space into a first-class, climate-controlled, self-storage facility. The new facility contains approximately 550 climate-controlled units, plus an additional 3 enclosed dock-high exterior units. Adding a mezzanine to the interior created a second level, giving the project a total of 71,000 square feet of rentable space.

The project, which opened in January, has met with great success. Not only does Universal Storage Solutions offer state-of-the-art self-storage, but it also offers a complete business center to support the growing needs of their commercial customers. The business center has a conference room with 60” color monitor, laptop-friendly work stations with free WiFi , a self-serve coffee bar, and even a warming drawer with fresh baked cookies. As an Authorized ShipCenter for FedEx, we can pack, label, ship and receive packages for our customers. These office-away-from-office amenities help to fill the gap left behind as many businesses down size or close their doors in this rough economic climate, providing professional space in which to continue business as usual. Smaller companies can store their inventory, records, or goods in the climate controlled units, meet with their clients in the on-site conference room, and even check email and handle orders at the WiFi-enabled workstations.

Fulfillment of every customer’s moving, storing and business needs is the goal at Universal Storage Solutions. The facility is professionally managed, and offers a complete line of boxes and packing supplies for both residential and business customers, and offers FedEx packaging and shipping. Commercial deliveries and large-scale residential moves are no problem with Universal Storage Solutions’ full-sized loading docks and easy tractor-trailer access to the facility.

Not only is the Universal Storage Solutions branded green, but it also strives to “go green” by promoting eco-friendly choices and options for its business and customers. Recycling programs are in place for both cardboard and plastic waste. Promotional materials are printed on eco-friendly paper, recycled and bio degradable plastics, and soy-based inks when possible. Energy saving light bulbs, appliances, and HVAC systems keep the drain on resources in check, and most importantly, the building itself was recycled!

Industry veteran David Dixon, VP of Development for Universal Storage Group (USG), oversees the operations and management of this project. Facility and Office design was led by industry expert and USG President of Training, Marketing, and Development, Anne Ballard. Property Managers are Franz and Cindy June, who hold over 10 years of self-storage industry experience each. Branding and promotions are provided by USG VP of Marketing, Stacie Maxwell. Universal Storage Group was founded by Anne Ballard and Executive VP Norma Taylor in 1993 and is based in Smyrna, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. USG provides world-class self storage consulting, fee management, training and developmental services to facilities throughout the southeastern United States and worldwide.

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