NORTH OLMSTED

An Atlanta-based company wants to turn the former Toys “R” Us building on Lorain Road into a 600-unit self-storage business and build a restaurant on the site.

The Stein Investment Group is proposing a $7 million to $10 million project that would reshape the facade of the 42,000-square-foot building for a Space Shop Self Storage facility and include a fast-casual restaurant on the parking lot.

“It’s going to be a modern, state-of-the-art facility with climate control and a nice building,” Jason Linscott, chief financial officer for the Stein Group, said in a phone interview. “If you’re going to store that piece of grandma’s old furniture, you’re going to want something that will preserve it.”

The plan is to open near the end of this year or in early 2021. Toys “R” Us closed in June 2018.

This type of project typically ranges from $7 million to $10 million, Linscott said. The company has similar facilities in Georgia and Florida. It will be the second one in Ohio. Its first in Ohio was built in a former Giant Eagle store in Columbus.

“Ohio is relatively new territory for us,” Linscott said. “But we’ve studied the area and think there is a need for this type of facility.”

The storage facility will have an office and units of various sizes, Linscott said.

Project planners don’t have a restaurant lined up yet, but it would be along the lines of a Panera Bread, where people could get a good meal and food quickly, Linscott said.

“We won’t need all the parking spaces that Toys ‘R’ Us had,” Linscott said. “This is a different type of business. There’s room for the restaurant and the parking to go in the lot.”

The property has entrances and exits onto Lorain and Dover Center roads. There will be new landscaping along Lorain and the Dover Center entranceway, he said Permeable pavers will go into the parking lot behind the building.

Using the area primarily for storage is the best use of the property, Linscott said.

“The old retail model for that type of building really isn’t going to work there right now,” he said. “This should be a good fit for the area.”

The proposal is scheduled to go before the North Olmsted Planning and Design Commission tonight. If approved by the commission, it will go to City Council.

Council Finance Committee Chairman Paul Schumann said getting a good business into a building that has been vacant for nearly two years is a plus.

“They know what they’re doing, having done this before,” he said. “This is the new type of business you’re going to see in a lot of cases now. You’re not going to see a lot of big-box type stores coming into spaces like this.”

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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