The owners of a long-vacant warehouse property on North Roosevelt Boulevard have repurposed their former Anheuser-Busch distributorship into a new self-storage business.
The once cavernous interior of the Silver Eagle beer distributorship has been meticulously divided into three levels and filled in with a labyrinth of hallways, elevators and self-storage units secured by roll-up garage doors.
"The building had been empty since 2006," said Charlie Acevedo, who owns the building and the new storage business with Ramon Oyarzun. (Acevedo is from Miami and is no relation to former Schools Superintendent Randy Acevedo).
"Once we closed the distributorship, which we ran from 1986 to 2006, we tried renting it; we tried selling it, and we had a few interested parties, but nothing happened," Oyarzun said. "Then a friend of ours suggested a self-storage business, and once we did a market study, we found there was a need for additional storage."
The two men opened Choice Storage Center on March 22 and said they have been pleased with the community's response thus far.
The center offers 501 units in 39 different sizes ranging from small cubbies to hold paperwork or clothing, all the way to a giant unit that could accommodate the contents of a four-bedroom home, said manager Stacey Stansel while leading the way through the maze-like corridors.
"The majority of our customers thus far are people who are moving," said Stansel, who is known as "Storage Stacey" on local radio shows. "A lot of them are downsizing when they move to the Keys, and we've gotten a lot of military families and people who want to store their stuff while they renovate a home."
Monthly rental rates range from $69 to $629 according to size, Stansel said.
She emphasized the security of each unit and of the whole property, saying the renter of each unit is assigned a unique security code that gives them access to the exterior gate to the property and to the level on which their storage unit is located.
"The key pad codes are unique and the elevator will only take you to the level of your own unit," Stansel said.
The security features prevent people from wandering the hallways, which are under 24-hour video surveillance.
"And the client is the only person who can access their unit once it's rented," said Oyarzun. "We don't have keys to your unit."
Customers may access their storage units from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, and may use one of three loading docks that make unpacking a U-Haul truck easier. The office is also staffed seven days a week.
The parking lot outside the giant building also offers outdoor parking spots that can be rented for car, boat, trailer or RV storage, Acevedo said.
"You can rent a gated parking spot that's under 24-hour surveillance," he said. "And inside, this building has been through several storms and never has had a drop of water inside. Plus, the walls are well-insulated because of the cold beer we used to store here, so humidity levels are much lower and makes it easier to control the climate inside here."
"So far we've been very happy with the results," said Oyarzun, who added that the North Roosevelt location of Choice Storage is the first of its kind, although the two business partners are looking into opening other locations.