Wednesday, April 30, 2014
It was a spot in the middle of Goose Creek that was an unincorporated eyesore for a decade.
Now it’s shaping into a storage facility and office area that should accommodate a number of needs in the area while giving the former Food Lion a much-needed facelift.
The process of changing the St. James Avenue shopping center has been in the works for seven years. In August the property was annexed from Berkeley County into Goose Creek city limits.
By December work had begun to turn into a storage facility. Universal Storage Solutions is expected to open sometime in the next few days and weeks.
There will be a community appreciation grand opening on May 10 with a car show, jump castle, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones.
Universal Storage will be home to boat and RV storage along with 300 storage units, some small offices for upstart businesses and heated and cooled units.
On a recent day Management Blueprints President Jay Wallace was found roping small trees onto wooden stakes that were knocked down during a weekend storm.
The area along Bridgetown Road is now landscaped with budding green trees, shrubs and fresh pine straw.
“We’re predominately going to serve the Crowfield area,” Wallace said. “We’ve got small offices for rent.”
So far the exterior has been repainted. Several interior storage units and offices are near completion. The interior of the 55,000 square-foot structure is naturally cool even on a warm afternoon due to its size.
Wallace said he is the contractor on this project and has been working with owner Albert Heyward for 30 years. Wallace was born in Charleston and has lived in the area his entire life.
“We had to fully re-do the perimeter façade,” Wallace said. “We repainted the back. We’re having to line the property with a high-end aluminum picket fence.
“This place was a blight to the community. We do a lot of rehab. When we find a place like this that needs some TLC we step in.”
Vandals broke into the building when it was vacant. Wallace said he believes all the copper was stolen by someone tying pipes to a four-wheeler and driving off with them.
“They hooked up all the wiring and took off . . . There was more graffiti than you could shake a stick at,” he said.
Some of the graffiti was on the brick exterior and the city had painted over it. To remove this Wallace used a method called sandblasting.
This method uses fine sand, water and a pressure washer to remove paint and graffiti. Now there are only tiny traces of paint in some of the front brick crevices.
There will be a gate around the perimeter of the property and a gate at the front of the building.
“The whole property is locked down 24/7,” he said. “There are two loading bays and covered boat and RV parking.”
The small offices will have wireless internet, mail service, a scanner and a coffee/break area. There will also be U-Haul rentals available.