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Metroplex Gets New Lease on Life with Self-Storage

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The market for storage units isn’t quite what Lynda Marasovich anticipated when she took over as property manager at Metroplex Self Storage, but that doesn’t mean that business isn’t good.

Metroplex occupies about half of the former Holiday Inn Metroplex, 1620 Motor Inn Drive in Liberty Township, which Universal Development purchased in 2015 for $850,000. The real estate developer also operates Austintown Self Storage at the Interstate 80-state Route 46 interchange in Austintown.

The self-storage facility opened last November and is holding its grand opening Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.

“There is a need for climate-controlled space that is clean and secure,” said Marasovich, Metroplex’s property manager.

“We are constantly running full at Austintown,” said Bri Simeone, event manager at Metroplex Event Center, which occupies the other half of the 100,000-square-foot building. During the self-storage center’s first few weeks of operation, several people said they had been waiting for the “open” sign to go on, she said.

According to the Self Storage Association, 9% of U.S. households rent a storage unit. In addition, just 27% of self-storage renters live in apartments, while 67% live in single-family homes, many of which have a basement or garage.

Marasovich largely expected units to be rented by people who were downsizing or moving, or couples who were splitting up. Instead, customers range from companies using them to store products between delivery from a manufacturer to local distributors to out-of-town repair services that hold parts so they don’t have to transport them all the way from their main warehouse.

Residential customers include those who are transitioning, downsizing or don’t have enough storage at their current living space. Some just use the units to store holiday decorations.

“Maybe they’re building a home and renting, and they don’t have enough space in their rental for all of their stuff,” she continued. Others might simply have too many books or “maybe shop more than they should – an HSN stopover, if you will,” she said

So far, two floors of the building have been converted from hotel and lobby space into 168 storage units. Converting the space included taking out all the plumbing and stripping the rooms bare, then dividing them into two or three storage units, depending on the size of the room. The interior walls are corrugated steel, while the exteriors are diamond plate.

Spaces are offered on month-to-month leases, starting at $59 per month. When the third and fourth floors are completed, Metroplex Self Storage will have between 425 and 450 units available, ranging in size from 26 to 216 square feet.

“It sure is a nice surprise when you walk into something that’s neat and clean and shiny,” she said. “It definitely helps people understand that we intend to keep it clean and safe and secure.”

The building features an advanced sprinkler system and a 24-hour security camera system that monitors interior and exterior doors and hallways. Each unit door has sensors that inform the main desk when it has been locked or unlocked. Access to the second floor – and upper levels, when completed – is via an interior elevator and an exterior freight elevator in the drive-through garage.

January is a slow month typically for the self-storage industry, Marasovich said. Even so, Metroplex Self Storage this month already has done double last month’s business.

“It’s going to start picking up as long as the weather doesn’t get too horrible,” she said. “It’s hard to move boxes in the snow.”

Pictured: Lynda Marasovich, property manager of Metroplex Self Storage, says the building will have up to 450 units available once the upper floors are renovated.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.