U-Haul Converts Old Georgia Cinema to Self Storage Facility

The adaptive reuse project will add 500 climate-controlled units to the company's portfolio.

Rome Cinemas. Image via Google Street View

U-Haul has announced plans to convert Rome Cinemas, an old movie theatre in Rome, Ga., into a modern self storage facility. The adaptive reuse project is set to bring online 500 climate-controlled units by the spring of 2022.

The building had been operating as a movie theatre for nearly four decades before the company purchased the asset this year in September. According to Floyd County records, the property sold for nearly $1.3 million.

Located at 2535 Shorter Ave., some 4 miles from downtown Rome, the property will cater to West Rome residents as well as students at Berry College and Shorter University. The 28,484-square-foot facility will offer portable storage containers in addition to truck and trailer services.

Sustainability alternatives

U-Haul is no stranger to adaptive reuse projects which include conversions of former big-box retail centers, malls and even historical landmarks. In 2012, the company invested $6 million to repurpose a century-old historical NaBisCo building in central Detroit.

Self storage conversions are picking up across the U.S. as physical stores lose ground to e-commerce. The high-visibility locations of former department stores and warehouses, paired with generally lower costs of retrofitting—compared to ground-up construction—is something self storage investors gravitate towards.

Earlier this month, U-Haul announced plans to open 700 climate-controlled units at a former Kmart store in Manteca, Calif., adding more than 107,000 square feet to its portfolio.

Other companies are also opting for clean-energy conversion projects. In June, Self Storage Plus opened a facility in a former Pikeville, Md., printing plant. The company received a $3 million C-PACE loan from MD Energy Advisors for net-zero retrofitting works.

Furthermore, the reuse of vacant spaces has become a viable alternative in markets where land available for construction is scarce. Last year, Stuf, a self storage start-up, opened its first location in the underused basement of a New York City office building. Stuf has since expanded to downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.         

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