The 11-acre site on Williamson Road in Roanoke where Happy’s Flea Market once stood soon will be getting a new look.
The property, along with the nearly 90,000-square-foot structure on site, was purchased recently for $950,000 by Fort Knox 5411 Williamson Road LLC, according to real estate records. New property owner Jim Cherney plans to install a drive-through self storage facility with an emphasis on the outdoors.
He owns Cherney Development and said he has converted other large properties into modern self storage facilities in other states.
He said he plans to keep the skin of the building but will completely revamp the property and make the outside more attractive and the building more innovative.
The structure is nearly 60 years old and was previously home to Happy’s, which closed in 2015 after city officials deemed the property unsafe for its tenants.
Even though the property needs a lot of work, Cherney said, he wants to incorporate the shell of it into the new project. He also said he wants to be involved with the Williamson Road community.
While the plans are still in the conceptual phase, he said, tentative plans are to create space for customers to drive through the building, allowing them to back their car up to their designated storage space.
He also envisions a dedicated space for recreational vehicles and boats. Since so many people live in urban environments and downtown areas now, outdoors enthusiasts are losing space for their RVs, boats and other bulky outdoor gear, he said. The new self storage space could be a home for those things.
Other commercial projects and new structures could still be in the works for the land as well.
Crews have begun to clear out the site. Cherney said he hopes to complete the project by summer.
Williamson Road Area Business Association Executive Director Wendy Jones said it is always a good thing when a vacant property becomes viable again and that the early concepts for the property sound good so far.