Dash’s Market plans to convert the former Budwey’s Supermarket on Kenmore Avenue into a public self-storage facility.
Dash’s, which bought the competing market last year, presented a proposal for the storage facility to the University Heights Collaborative Tuesday night.
The plan would renovate the existing building to house varying sizes of indoor, air-conditioned storage units, and add about seven additional buildings throughout the existing parking lot for outdoor storage units.
“We did a study and found there was a need for outside storage in the area,” said Mark Mahoney, Dash’s director of operations.
Residents near the store have been clamoring for another grocery store in that space, and have accused Dash’s of purposely keeping grocers out in order to eliminate competition for its stores on Hertel and Colvin avenues.
But Mahoney said putting retail in that space wouldn’t make sense, since the Department of Transportation is planning a major road reconstruction project near the store between April to October next year, which would prevent a store from getting the kind of traffic it would need to sustain itself.
Many neighborhood residents are opposed to a storage facility, calling it “the worst idea ever” on social media.
Patrick Willett, a homeowner who used to walk to Budwey’s for groceries, called a storage facility a “terrible idea.”
He would like to see the space used as a grocery store.
“It was doing great business until the owners just let it go,” he said.
At the very least, the space should be used in a way that fosters a more walkable community – something a storage facility would not do he said.
“Storage is just not a good match for this site,” he said. “Storage is more industrial.”
Dash’s originally released details of a plan to make the former Budwey’s store a specialty Italian market and operated the store for a time under the Dash’s banner. The store closed in May ahead of renovations, the company said. But in July, the store confirmed it had changed its plans and would not reopen the location as a Dash’s supermarket.