Windsor zoning change would allow self-storage in underutilized office space

Photo Source: COSTAR – 1 Targeting Centre, Windsor

Hartford Business Journal – July 20, 2023 By Hanna Snyder Gambini

Windsor has approved a zoning change that would allow self-storage facilities in restricted commercial zones, as a new option for underutilized properties such as office buildings.

East Hartford-based consulting firm Goman+York applied for the zone change on behalf of Targeting Centre One LLC, which owns a 97,200-square-foot office building at 1 Targeting Centre.

The building is vacant and sits in a restricted commercial zone near the town’s Day Hill Road corridor, where self-storage was not allowed.

Don Poland, senior vice president and managing partner at Goman+York, said his firm has been working with 1 Targeting Centre since 2022 on a market feasibility analysis aimed at identifying potential tenants to occupy the building, or financially feasible alternatives for the space.

The state is seeing record-high office vacancy rates, due to weak market conditions, the pandemic and remote work, the study said.

Goman+York identified possible uses for underutilized office space, including logistics, multifamily residential and self-storage, with the self-storage option the best choice for the Targeting Centre One property.

Owners have not yet determined whether they will seek to convert the building to self-storage.

Menachem Thurm, principal of Targeting Centre One LLC, could not be reached for comment.

Poland said the zoning change is aimed at creating opportunity, and that owners of 1 Targeting Centre “are exploring the option.”

Any application for conversion will still require a site plan and special permit from town land use officials.

Windsor Town Planner Eric Barz said there is a need for self-storage units but it is not unlimited. There is also a need to repurpose office space, but he does not anticipate other property owners seeking a conversion to self-storage under the new zone change.

That restricted commercial zone, which includes Targeting Centre, Day Hill Road and Dunsey Lane properties, is fully developed except for one parcel on Day Hill Road, Barz said. Several hotels sit along the corridor.

“All three hotels are functioning, so I wouldn’t expect the hotels to transition, it’s the offices that have been hurt the most;” Poland said.