JOLIET – For seven long years, the Wal-Mart store at 305 S. Larkin Ave. has sat vacant.
That will change after the Joliet City Council’s vote earlier this week allowing DealPoint Merrill, LLC – a nationwide real estate development and property management firm – to convert the vacant building into an indoor storage facility.
“There’s nothing but positives that’s going to come out of this,” District 3 Councilman John Gerl said Thursday. “Right now, there’s graffiti on the walls. It’s just not attractive.”
The 116,000-square-foot Wal-Mart building has been sitting vacant since 2007, when it was replaced with the new Supercenter store on West Jefferson Street.
Since that time, the city had received just one other proposal to convert the building for new use.
“There’s not a lot of uses for a 116,000-square-foot space,” Gerl said.
The 13.4-acre site is listed as a pending sale on Wal-Mart’s Realty website. The listing price is $2.6 million – down from the 2007 asking price of $4.3 million.
The facility would be managed by CubeSmart, the fourth largest self-storage operator in the U.S. and serve as a climate-controlled “super center” for self-storage with service amenities, according to an outline of DealPoint Merrill’s plan.
Some of those amenities may include commercial and retail self-storage, business center and overnight shipping, truck rentals, and moving supply sales housed within a storm-proof facility.
At full capacity, there will be 865 storage units with 24-hour access for renters.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman said because the proposed storage facility is set so far back off the street, retail shops or restaurants could potentially open up on site closer to Larkin.
The site is one of the first things people see when they get off Interstate 80 and head into Joliet, she said, so it will be nice for it to no longer be vacant.
“It was such an eyesore,” Quillman said. “Being one of the gateways into the city, I’m glad something is going to be in there and it’s going to look a lot nicer than what it is now.”
Gerl said there’s no definite timeline on when the storage facility will be complete, but he hopes by early next year.