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Another empty grocery slated for self-storage conversion

Former Stellhorn Village Scott's would also include room for neighborhood stores

Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 2:42 pm

A second empty Fort Wayne grocery store is slated to become a self-storage facility – and more.

California-based Dealpoint Merrill has filed plans to convert the former Scott's Food Store in the Stellhorn Village shopping center at 4522 Maplecrest Road into an undetermined number of climate-controlled self-storage units and commercial space for as many as 10 neighborhood-style businesses, plus additional space for businesses on out lots.

The Fort Wayne Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeal could consider the proposal next month.

As The News-Sentinel reported earlier this month, the conversion of vacant big-box stores into self-storage facilities is becoming increasingly popular in part because use of an existing building can reduce a developer's cost by up to 30 percent. Fort Wayne Storage plans to open its Downtown Storage location in the former Kroger store at State Boulevard and Spy Run later this month.

“I'm a restoration architect, and we're stuck with what to do with a lot of (empty) 'big boxes,' ” said Mike Gaertner, who is designing the project for Dealpoint. The company has already completed two similar conversions and is planning several more, with construction in Fort Wayne to begin as soon as all necessary approvals are received.

“We're really excited about the potential in the (Fort Wayne) market. We can take a dark building and turn it into something that will benefit the community,” he said.

The Maplecrest Scott's store closed in 2010 as part of parent company Kroger's $100 million restructuring of its Fort Wayne operations. The Kroger on Spy Run closed in 2007.