Self storage craze driving rebirth of 2 vacant stores; manufacturer consolidating into third

By  | 

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (5/29/2019) - Three vacant buildings in Saginaw Township have new owners and new life.

Two will be home to what has become one of the hottest business trends in the country. The third is a manufacturing plant being put back to good use.

The old Value City building on Bay Road has sat vacant for about 10 years, but finally something is going in there. Property records show a corporation called Star Saginaw LLC purchased the former furniture store building in March.

Saginaw Township Development Director Steve King said plans call for turning the 140,000-square-foot building into storage units. Across the road, a former Kmart has already been turned into a CubeSmart self-storage facility.

Bloomberg estimates the self storage business takes in more than $30 billion each year.

"We as Americans apparently have a lot of stuff and we need a place to put that stuff," King said.

He said Storage of America has purchased another former Kmart building on Gratiot Road with plans to renovate it into storage units.

"I don't understand the business model, but obviously there must be enough demand for it to see significant investments in it in the area," King said.

A third vacant building in Saginaw Township is also in the process of being sold. Solar company Suniva closed in 2017, but Kochville Township's Blue Thumb needs more space and is buying the building.

Blue Thumb manufactures filtration systems for water features, such as ponds, waterfalls and fountains. Owner Kip Northrup said his company operates out of four buildings now and plans on consolidating under this one roof in the fall.

"We make the product right here in Saginaw and ship it all over the country," he said.

There is not a lot of job creation with repurposing the three buildings, but King said the township is happy the large structures will be occupied again.

"The last thing anybody wants to see is real estate that just sits there and rots away," he said.