Once filled with the sounds of heavy machinery, cranes and conveyors, the building now remains quiet for most of the day, the silence broken only by the occasional movement of an elevator or the opening of a roll-up metal, garage door.
Now home to StorageMart, the building located at 1720 Grand Blvd. in Kansas City, Missouri was once owned by the Kansas City Star newspaper. Now dedicated to 46,321 square feet of self storage space divided among 532 separate storage units or varying sizes, the building was used for storage by the newspaper as well. Huge rolls of newsprint, weighing hundreds of pounds apiece, were kept in the building at 1720 Grand, waiting for the moment they would be moved via cranes, rail systems and tunnels to one of two neighboring buildings to be fed into the giant printing presses.
The re-purposing of the building known as the Kansas City Star Annex into self storage space is just one of many similar projects StorageMart has been involved with as their company has grown and expanded across the United States and Canada.
“Giving a second life to the Grand building was an interesting proposition,” StorageMart CEO Mike Burnam said. “It had been used to store huge rolls of newsprint, which were moved around the building and to the presses across the street by cranes and a rail system. So we really had to build the entire interior of the building from scratch, changing it from an open warehouse into four floors of self storage units.”
In addition to the Kansas City Star Annex, StorageMart has converted car dealerships, hotels, factories and warehouses into self storage properties. As the demand for self storage in urban areas rises, the lack of available open land for commercial development has made this repurposing of buildings for self storage an increasingly popular trend within the industry. Neighborhoods have welcomed the trend with open arms, as it brings conveniently located storage space to the area while maintaining a measure of the area aesthetic without a significant intrusion from construction crews.