SCHENECTADY — A company with local roots is proposing a 700-unit, self-storage facility at Erie Boulevard and Seneca Street.
Diamond Point Development proposes to replace the Red-Kap Sales office and warehouse at 1806 Erie Blvd. with the three-story building. It is also purchasing the vacant lot adjacent to Red-Kap but has no immediate plans for construction there.
Red-Kap was a long-running fuel distribution company that operated a network of gas stations and convenience stores when it was acquired by Stewart’s Shops late in 2020.
Diamond Point principals Aaron and Jason Sommer, Schenectady natives and Niskayuna High School graduates, are seeking to turn a new chapter on the Red-Kap site.
The three-story climate-controlled storage facility would be the first Class-A self-storage space in Schenectady, Aaron Sommer said.
He added that it would be a visual upgrade at one of the main entrances to the city, with an architecturally designed exterior of brick and stucco rather than the industrial steel-and-cement aesthetic some storage facilities present.
The proposal needs site plan approval and is scheduled on the Schenectady Planning Commission’s July 14 meeting agenda.
The Sommer brothers and their commercial real estate business are based in Atlanta. This would be their eighth self-storage facility. They broke ground three months ago in Portland, Maine, for their first in the Northeast.
Once approvals are in hand, Diamond Point expects to break ground in autumn 2021 and open for business in summer 2022.
The brothers return home often to visit and what they’ve seen in recent years was the impetus for this latest project.
“Honestly, just watching everything happening in downtown Schenectady, it’s hard to believe it could happen growing up in the 1990s,” Aaron Sommer said. “That was really what drew us to come back up there.”
The proliferation of downtown rental housing is another factor.
“Apartments dwellers are part of our customer base but it’s also commercial,” he said. “All the facilities in the area are full, so it was a no-brainer.
“It’s nice to come home and do something in our hometown.”
The new facility will be managed by Life Storage, a Buffalo-based real estate investment trust that specializes in self-storage facilities.