Wellington PZA Board Supports Self-Storage Project Off SR 7

The Wellington Municipal Complex.

On land once zoned for medical offices off State Road 7, a new plan pitches a self-storage building with some twists tailored for Wellington — including wine storage at a precise temperature and humidity.

If granted final approval, a new 35-foot building behind Cheddar’s restaurant a mile north of Forest Hill Blvd. on the west side of SR 7 will feature three floors of storage units, carpeting, limited hours with access determined by security codes, two electric vehicle chargers and climate control throughout.

The prospective builders for the parcel known as the Iorizzo property believe that it offers something the village needs — space to store stuff — with touches appropriate for the location.

Wellington is “a high-end market without a high-end storage facility,” said Gerard Ripo, regional development director for applicant BRB Development.

The proposal cleared one hurdle when Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment board voted unanimously Wednesday, Jan. 18 to revise the rules governing what is allowed on the property. The matter is slated to go before the Wellington Village Council in the coming weeks.

PZA Board Member Adam Rabin noted that his family had to go east of the Turnpike to store furniture. Few homes have basements in South Florida, and attics are not always climate-controlled or suitable for storage.

“I think there is a dearth of this necessary product in Wellington,” he said.

A representative from the homeowners’ association in the nearby Black Diamond neighborhood said residents have asked questions about issues such as landscaping. She received assurances that existing and proposed features such as trees and berms will address concerns about sightlines, lights or noise.

“The reality is we’re just not that close to Black Diamond,” Ripo said. “We’re about 220 feet from our building to their access road.”

The clubhouse and nearest houses are even more distant, he added.

Ripo said that the storage business produces relatively light daily traffic compared to most retail locations, and loading and unloading will be done in interior spaces, not through exterior doors.

The parcel, owned by Pepperjack Palm LLC, has not been developed despite initial approvals for medical offices more than a decade ago.

The building would operate as “The Lock Up Self Storage.” Most of the chain’s approximately 50 locations are on Florida’s west coast with a handful in the east, said Bob Soudan, a principal at BRB Development.

A small number, perhaps five or six, offer wine storage, he said.

“For the wine storage, we keep it at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit with a 65 percent to 75 percent humidity level,” Soudan explained.

Nearly 50 planned lockers in Wellington will be able to store varying quantities, from 16 cases of wine to more than 100, he said. The expectation is that about 70 percent of the wine-storing clients will be individual residents, and about 30 percent will be restaurants and other commercial operations with restricted storage space.

The wine area will require its own additional security code, with its temperature maintained separately from other storage units.

PZA Board Member Tracy Ciucci said that as a real estate broker, she sees plenty of reasons why people might want access to storage space closer to home. One is to keep artwork or baseball-card collections or other valuables out of harm’s way during an open house, for example.

A second instance in which she often recommends storage is when people rent out their house for the equestrian season, she said. A storage space gives the temporarily absent owners an alternative to cramming things into a spare bedroom and locking it, Ciucci said.