A former supermarket on Merrimac Trail is one step closer to becoming a self-storage facility.
York County’s Planning Commission voted five-two Wednesday evening to support a proposal to turn a recently-closed Farm Fresh into a 93,000 square foot climate-controlled self-storage facility.
The proposal— which asked for a special use permit from the county— was submitted by the Adams Property Group LLC, a South Carolina-based company that owns several storage facilities in South Carolina and Georgia.
The proposal will head to the county’s Board of Supervisors for a final determination at a future meeting.
The former Farm Fresh building, located in the Shoppes at Merrimac Center at 455 Merrimac Trail, will be transformed into a storage space, according to the proposal. The exterior will be mostly unchanged, with the addition of new signs.
All storage units will be inside the former supermarket. A new fence with a keypad-controlled gate will secure the entrance to the storage facility on the side of the building.
Applicant representative Jack Copeland said they plan to invest more than $6 million in the property to turn the building into self-storage.
The approval was made with some hesitation.
Staff cautioned that a storage facility was not an ideal business for the property—saying a self-storage business would not create much revenue for the county or bring many people to surrounding businesses.
“Considering the circumstances, we have someone willing to make an investment in the property and to work with the existing retailers,” Commissioner Michael King said. “I think this is probably one of the best outcomes we could hope for.”
The retail shops adjacent to the Farm Fresh building, including a Jackson-Hewitt, Domino’s Pizza and a laundromat, will receive minor exterior upgrades and will remain open. The gas station on the property will be removed in favor of parking.
While Adams Property Group did not propose any additional retail space, their statement of intent did indicate the Farm Fresh parking lot could be used in the future for the development of retail shops facing Merrimac Trail.
Staff also expressed concern about the possibility of the large building remaining vacant.
Should it remain vacant, staff said the building would be an eyesore that would not generate revenue for the county and would not drive traffic to the shopping center, meaning fewer potential customers for the center’s other businesses.