Life Storage's 'showcase' coming to Kenmore Avenue

By James Fink
Buffalo Business First

The proposed Life Storage facility. (Contributed image)

Life Storage Inc.’s latest development is more than just a new self-storage center.

Officials from the publicly traded Amherst-based company will use the planned, three-story, 84,000-square-foot complex as a showcase to court those looking to invest in the firm's new design and development concept.

Life Storage is the fourth-largest U.S. self-storage company and has grown at a rapid clip over the past decade. It owns 600 facilities, manages about 300 more through joint agreements and is making major technology investments aimed at individual customers and businesses.

“We view this as a flagship,” said David Dodman, Life Storage senior vice president of investor relations and strategic planning. “We are a locally headquartered company, and we want to bring people to Buffalo to show off our product.”

The new center, set for 400 Kenmore Ave. in Buffalo, is adjacent to an existing Life Storage facility and set to begin a municipal review process when representatives meet with the Buffalo Planning Board on Nov. 30. A series of planning board approvals are needed before construction can begin.

A final development cost is still being tabulated, said Corey Auerbach, a Barclay Damon partner who is representing Life Storage.

Dodson said Life Storage officials considered a number of sites but opted for Kenmore Avenue because of the central location and high visibility.

“It became the site we zeroed in on,” Dodman said. “There was and is a lot interest in that site.”

Life Storage will purchase 4.51 acres of the Kenmore Avenue parcel from Joseph Dash, Dash’s Market owner, who operated a Budwey’s supermarket on the site until the initial Life Storage center was built five years ago.

Dash will retain ownership of the remaining 1.3 acres of the site. Mighty Taco operates a restaurant on that land and will remain, Auerbach said.

According to documents filed with the planning board, the three-story building will front Kenmore Avenue. Each story will contain 28,000-square-feet of self-storage space.

Life Storage dates back to 1985, when it made its debut as Sovran Self-Storage Inc. and then Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage.

This article originally appeared in Buffalo Business First.