Another business on 23rd Street to be converted into self-storage center

photo by: Journal-World photo/Chad Lawhorn

The retail building near the 23rd and Harper Street Kwik Shop will be converted into a self-storage business in late 2018.

Perhaps some of you remember the old Bargain Depot store near 23rd and Harper in eastern Lawrence. I have news of its pending redevelopment. It could be described as the circle of a bargain.

Man goes into Bargain Depot, a cornucopia of tools, camping supplies and home improvement gadgets. Man comes home with a truckload of very sound investments. Man finds out that when storing a floor jack a dining room floor is not considered an appropriate floor. Man begins searching for place to store valuable investments and, perhaps, an emergency cot.

Well, now there is a chance all those good buys may return to the Bargain Depot building. A Lawrence businessman has purchased the building and plans to convert it into individual storage units.

If you haven’t been paying attention, construction of self-storage units has become a real trend in Lawrence, and the conversion of old retail space into storage units is becoming more prevalent too.

Adam Williams, a Lawrence businessman who has developed several commercial spaces in town, said the numbers show Lawrence can use more of of the self-storage units.

“When the students go home for the summer, you’ll find that the occupancy rate on storage units is pretty much 100 percent,” Williams said.

The fact that apartments are becoming a larger share of Lawrence’s housing stock also is likely contributing to the demand for storage units.

Williams said he’ll offer 20,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage space inside the former retail building. He’ll divide it into 5-by-10 foot, 10-by-10 foot, and 10-by-15 foot storage spaces, he said.

Construction will be underway shortly, and he hopes to open the business in November.

To be clear, Williams is not part of the group that ran the former Bargain Depot business. Such synergy would border on diabolical. (It would be like a barbecue restaurant owning a dry cleaner.) Williams, though, has bought the building, which has been on the market for many months after Bargain Depot closed and a subsequent factory surplus flooring store.

The building represents at least the second 23rd Street retail property that is being converted into storage space. The other is the Southern Hills Shopping Center that is behind Perkins at 23rd and Ousdahl. As we’ve reported, plans were filed to convert a large amount of the shopping center into self-storage space.

That work is well underway, and the sign for University Storage is up. Plans called for about 33,000 square feet of space in the shopping center building to be converted to storage space. The rear parking lot of the shopping center also will be taken over by garage-like storage units. Plans call for five new buildings to be built on the parking lot, totaling about 21,000 square feet. Work on those units is nearly complete. The project is managed by Tennessee-based company Absolute Storage Management.

photo by: Journal-World photo/Chad Lawhorn

Mini-storage units have been built on much of the rear parking lot of the shopping center at 23rd and Ousdahl streets. Part of the shopping center building also has been converted to storage space.

The conversion of retail space into storage space on 23rd Street is another sign that the corridor is undergoing some of its largest changes in history. The South Lawrence Trafficway is accomplishing its goal of reducing traffic on 23rd Street. It stands to reason that the mix of business types on 23rd Street also will change.

West Lawrence also has been the site of some new storage unit development. We’ve reported that plans have been filed by Professional Moving and Storage to build about a 370-unit climate-controlled storage facility in the 1300 block of Research Park Drive. That facility would be in addition to the sizable storage business its operates near 23rd Street and Franklin Road in far eastern Lawrence.

Plans also are in the works for a storage business a bit north of Rock Chalk Park. You can see some retaining wall work and other dirt work from the South Lawrence Trafficway as you get near the Lecompton interchange. That is the future site of a storage business, according to previously filed plans.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.