A rendering of The Hampshire Cos.’ new self-storage facility at 1189 Magnolia Ave. in Elizabeth
By Joshua Burd
A historic armory building in downtown Elizabeth is primed to become a new self-storage facility, under an adaptive reuse plan announced Thursday by The Hampshire Cos.
The real estate investment firm said it would begin construction later this year at 1189 Magnolia Ave., which dates back more than 100 years, with plans to create a 100,000-square-foot, three-story self-storage complex. Extra Space Storage will manage the property upon completion, expanding Hampshire’s partnership with the real estate investment trust.
In announcing the project, the developer touted Elizabeth’s population of more than 128,000 people and a lack of local institutional-quality self-storage facilities. The firm said the city has “ideal demographics” for such a project, while also citing the property’s accessibility to the New Jersey Turnpike, Routes 1 and 9 and Port Newark-Elizabeth.
“As we embarked on the design of this project, the uniqueness of the building created a highly unique and complex set of challenges,” said James E. Hanson II, Hampshire’s CEO and president. “However, our self-storage team has been able to apply the lessons from the dozens of projects that preceded to this one to develop a new approach and strategy versus traditional ground up development that will allow us to deliver a first-class, institutional quality asset and valuable community amenity to an underserved market.”
Hampshire, which has repositioned or developed 33 self-storage facilities with an aggregate value of over $415 million since 2012, said it will develop the Elizabeth property while honoring the history of the site. Plans call for preserving the building’s historic façade and exterior to ensure that it can remain a focal point of downtown Elizabeth.
In the interior, it will create a modern, institutional-quality self-storage facility.
“Upon an initial viewing of the building, many might not see self-storage conversion as a natural fit,” said Michael Legacki, senior acquisitions manager for the Morristown-based firm. “Our ability to identify real estate through our experienced-backed site selection and due diligence process allowed our team to recognize that this space presented an ideal opportunity to bring a modern self-storage asset to an underserved market.
“Additionally, having a strong, well-versed team enabled us to adeptly maneuver the entitlement process and work with the city of Elizabeth to gain approvals within a very tight timeline.”