The abandoned Piggly Wiggly grocery store at the corner of Lexington and Cherokee roads in eastern Athens-Clarke County will be renovated as a two-story, climate-controlled self storage facility by the owner of a self storage business on Danielsville Road.
Chad Keller, who operates Elbow Room Self-Storage at 925 Danielsville Road, will open Lexington Road Self-Storage in June of next year. Construction of the storage business is slated to begin early in 2017, he said.
In addition to the renovation of the former grocery store, which opened in 2007 and was abandoned a few years later, Keller’s plan for the five-acre site includes the construction of six other storage buildings, arranged in four rows facing Cherokee Road.
In all, Keller said, Lexington Road Self-Storage will comprise 82,000 square feet of storage space.
Prior to operating as Piggly Wiggly, the grocery store had been a Southern Family Market. In 2007, the parent company of both grocery chains, Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, changed the Lexington Road store and other Southern Family Markets to Piggly Wiggly stores, saying at the time that the Piggly Wiggly brand was more familiar to potential customers.
In the years since it was abandoned, the Piggly Wiggly site has remained something of an eyesore on the county’s eastside. The storage business coming to the site will be designed to not be unduly intrusive on the surrounding area, Keller said.
“You won’t see any metal,” he said, referencing the metal structures that are typical of self-storage facilities.
The storage buildings to be constructed outside the former grocery store will be screened with trees and shrubbery, and at least some of the buildings will have architectural features including brickwork and windows.
The site will also include a plaza area on Lexington Road, planted with trees and shrubbery and including seating and a pathway connected to the sidewalk.
“We feel like it’s a good expense,” Keller said of the worked planned for the site.
In all, Keller said, approximately $5 million will be invested in the Lexington Road enterprise.
The planned storage facility is not the only recent business activity on Lexington Road. According to an email newsletter distributed by Athens-Clarke Commissioner Andy Herod, a stonework business is slated to come to a commercially zoned tract at 4110 Lexington Road, and a landscaping business is being proposed for a tract at 1505 Lexington Road near the Athens Perimeter.