A Florida-based company wants to finally make a self-storage facility happen at the Hamilton West Shopping Center on North Brookwood Avenue.
But to move forward, Hamilton City Council must first decide if the pockmarked parking lot should be repaired and sealed or repaved. Because there is a difference, said Mark Masterson, president of Rapid Building Solutions, the company wanting to finally develop the former shopping plaza into a self-storage facility.
Masterson, though, needs to know what the council wants because he said the city’s planning commission’s directive to seal and repave the lot was vague.
“Those terms are not mutually exclusive,” he said of the phrasing “seal and repave.” Masterson said he could either repave the 2 acres of asphalt, which would be cost-prohibitive, or repair the damaged potholes in much of the parking areas and seal it. “It’s one or the other; it’s not the same.”
Masterson said they’d prefer to repair and seal because most of the damaged asphalt is on two outlets on either side of the O’Reilly’s Auto Parts property.
“That would make a lot more sense to what’s going on, and that’s what our group will be prepared to accept and to go forward with,” he said. “I think if we were to repave the entire two outlets, which is 2 acres of land, the cost would be eight times the amount of just to repair and reseal.”
Rapid Building Solutions, which is operating as 4WH LLC, plans to sell the two outlets as they will maintain ownership of the self-storage unit, which was planned to be just that in 2018, but that project failed to materialize despite having a planned development approved.
Rapid Building Solutions was a silent partner with the previous ownership at 64 N. Brookwood Ave., which never completed the project. But now, Rapid Building Solutions is the property’s sole owner, said Planning Director Liz Hayden. The plans submitted to the city, she said, call for a complete remodel of the structure.
“They’re planning to take everything off (the façade) and starting over because of the poor construction, and proposing more brick than what is there currently, and every material they’re proposing is some sort of masonry material,” she said.
Additionally, the plans call for no loading or unloading outside the building. There is a drive-in access called for to load and unload indoors.
But fixing the parking areas of the two outlets is the ultimate goal, said Dale McAllister, a planning commission member who spoke on the issue at last week’s City Council meeting.
“We want the parking lot fixed and taken care of,” he said. “It’s been a frustration for planning commission.”
The frustration, McAllister explained, is this is one of the city’s “last sizeable areas for development.”
The entirety of the Hamilton West Shopping Center, which is commonly known as the Brookwood Shopping Center by Hamiltonians, is just more than 18.5 acres and has multiple owners. 4WH LLC owns three of the parcels for a total of nearly 8.5 acres, with the planned storage facility being around 6.4 acres.
Councilman Joel Lauer said this property is “very frustrating for the city,” and believes this plaza “is one of the properties that’s holding us back a little bit.”
“This is a large piece of property that needs to be developed rather quickly,” he said. “I would like to see this piece of property, for the surrounding businesses and the community, get fixed up as soon as possible.”
4WH LLC owns two out lots, one just over an acre and one just under an acre, and they plan to sell them, said Masterson. Repairing and sealing the asphalt in the two areas, he said, would provide an improved driving surface for the neighboring businesses and the marketability of the lots.
City Council will entertain a vote on the preliminary and final planned development on North Brookwood at the Sept. 27 meeting.