Where the Encore Lounge nightclub once stood in Virginia Beach, VA, a local developer soon will build a three-story storage facility.
In 2011, Lefcoe Development Co. bought the Air Station Storage facility next to the former nightclub, which is at 1889 Virginia Beach Blvd. Lefcoe primarily owns and manages office properties.
The City of Virginia Beach purchased the nightclub site — which had been home to a major drug ring — back in 2009. Last summer, the city put out a request for proposals for a developer to buy the land and construct an “attractive and compatible” building on the nightclub site.
Kevin Lefcoe, president of Lefcoe Development, decided to seize the opportunity to build a facility next to the company’s 30,000-square-feet facility at 1993 Virginia Beach Blvd. All told, Lefcoe will operate more than 100,000 square feet of storage on Virginia Beach Boulevard.
“It was kind of a natural progression of things,” Lefcoe said. “We knew the city was looking to do something with this parcel and eventually came to terms with them.”
Including land costs, the new 71,400-square-foot facility will cost about $4 million. Unlike the single-story outdoor facility it operates now, Lefcoe Development’s new building will feature three floors of indoor storage, Lefcoe said.
“Multistory is the new flavor of storage, if the land can handle it,” Lefcoe said.
The property is close to the Oceana Naval Air Base, where the sound of jets roaring through the air can be heard several times a day. Redevelopment of the property is part of a program called YesOceana that seeks to surround the naval base with compatible businesses.
“This project represents a substantial investment along this corridor of Virginia Beach Boulevard,” Warren Harris, director of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, said in a news release. “It is part of the YesOceana program that takes non-conforming properties surrounding Oceana and replaces them with conforming uses.”
Nearby commercial real estate projects benefiting from the program include a residential builder’s office and showroom, and an auto repair service. The Virginia Beach economic development agency approved a grant of $80,000 for Lefcoe’s YesOceana project.
Pending additional approvals, Lefcoe expects work on the new facility to begin this summer.
Like Air Station Storage, Lefcoe expects the expansion to benefit from its proximity to the naval base, which is home to more than 10,000 active-duty Navy personnel, 10,000 family members and 4,500 civilian personnel. The base is the second largest employer in Virginia Beach.
Lefcoe said the existing facility attracts plenty of civilian customers as well.
The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area has more than 12.6 million square feet of storage space, or 7.49 square feet per resident, according to the 2014 Self Storage Almanac.
“It is a very well-located spot with good demographics,” Lefcoe said of Air Station Storage. “I think we cater to all people who need storage.”