Home Premium Content Leading self-storage developer pitches CubeSmart project in Port Chester

Leading self-storage developer pitches CubeSmart project in Port Chester

A proposal to build a four-story 106,240-square-foot CubeSmart self-storage building at 354 N. Main St. in the village of Port Chester is under review by the village’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.

The developer is Manhattan-based Storage Deluxe Management Co. LLC, which identifies itself as “the leading self-storage developer in the New York City metropolitan area.” It reports having 65 projects completed or in development that total 7 million square feet and represent a total investment of more than $1.5 billion. The proposal was filed with Port Chester using the entity 350 Port Chester LLC.

An existing building on part of the 0.86-acre site has been the location of the EN Fur Gallery and Steilmann Ladies European Fashions. The two-story building, garage and outdoor metal sheds would be demolished.

The proposal needs site plan and special exception-use approvals from the planning commission and variances from the zoning board.

Port Chester self storage
A rendering of the CubeSmart building.

Attorney Anthony Gioffre of the White Plains-based law firm Cuddy & Feder LLP pointed out at a recent planning commission virtual meeting that the applicant has submitted a petition with more than 100 signatures in support of the proposal, mostly local residents and businesspeople.

“This project will bring significant ratables to the village, something that is sorely needed at this time, as well as the fact that there are going to be limited impacts,” Gioffre said.

According to Zachary Chaplin of Stonefield Engineering and Design in Manhattan, over the past several months the applicant made revisions to the proposal in order to address comments from the village and remove requirements to obtain a number of variances.

“These include things like site lighting … the main entrance location so the revised plan actually indicates now an entrance that is directly on North Main Street giving the ability for customers to utilize an entrance directly on North Main,” Chaplin said. He said that among other changes are additional foliage and the use of special pavers to improve stormwater handling by reducing the amount of impervious surface at the site.

Variances still will be needed regarding lot width and allowing a fourth story in an area currently limited to three stories.

Gioffre urged the commission to put critical comments about the proposal from self-storage operator Westy, which has a location at 351 N. Main St. in Port Chester, into the context of coming from a competitor.

“This is a concern about competition. This opposition does not want a competitor right across the street. If this proposal were a multifamily development with new potential customers you would not be hearing from Westy,” Gioffre told the planning commission.

“I remind you that there will be no impact to traffic; there will be no parking impacts; there will be no generation of school-age children; there will be no generation of residents; there will be no adverse impacts to municipal services; there will be no displacement of tenants; there will be no displacement of commercial tenants; there will be no impact to natural resources; there will be no impact to historical resources; there will be no impact to archaeological resources; there will be no impacts to utilities or infrastructure that can’t be mitigated; there will be no impact caused by hazardous materials; there will be no impact to air quality; there will be no impact of noise or vibration,” Gioffre said.

He suggested competition is good for the residents and businesses of Port Chester and would help keep prices for self-storage units lower.

As part of the review process under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, the planning commission approved a negative declaration of environmental impacts.

“We’ve been developing self-storage since 1997. Our first facility we developed was in Wilton, Connecticut. Our second was in New Rochelle,” Steven Novenstein, co-founder and president of Storage Deluxe told the Business Journal.

“We figure out where the demand is, what’s the population, who’s going to use us, how many businesses, how many residential customers, where we can be successful and since we’re New Yorkers we really want to be part of the community when we come in. We’ll become involved with the community boards, local churches and synagogues, and boys and girls clubs and we donate a lot of the units to local charities.”

Novenstein said that experience with shopping centers led them to design their self-storage buildings to have the kind of visual appeal you’d find in a retail setting rather than looking like a warehouse.

Novenstein said they’ve instituted extra cleaning and sanitizing at the company’s facilities in the wake of the coronavirus, while limiting the number of people on-premises at any given time and requiring social distancing and the use of masks.

“We want it to be clean for everybody and our mission has always been to make the customers’ lives easier,” Novenstein said.

Novenstein said that the company acts as general contractor on its developments.

“We like it because we have more control over it. We tend to come in on schedule and on budget when we’re doing our jobs ourselves,” Novenstein said.

He expressed the belief there will be ongoing demand for self-storage, especially with increased apartment developments in the suburbs.

“It’s really a relatively new businesses. It started in Texas in the ’70s when they took a warehouse and split it up,” Novenstein said.

“We’re excited because we’re in a dense area of Port Chester. We’re going to pay close to $500,000 a year in taxes, more than what the landowner is paying now. The project will be a major benefit to the school system and village given the additional tax revenue and lack of impact on the schools, village infrastructure, utilities and services.”

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