The former Toys R Us sold on November 6, 2019, to Swintstorage, a self-storage developer out of Savannah, Georgia, for $2.7 million.
The developer plans on renovating the building into climate-controlled self-storage with drive-in capability, according to David Dexter and Niki Coker of NAI Mobile who handled the transaction locally.
“The plans for the build-out are impressive,” Coker said. “From what it looks like, they will be adding large roll-up doors to the exterior of the building for moving trucks to drive in, unload in an air-conditioned (or heated) environment out of the elements and exit.”
Vacant since shuttering last year, the massive site is situated prominently at 429 Bel Air Blvd. It has a footprint of 49,025 square feet and is located on 6.6 acres of land directly across from The Shoppes at Bel Air and near the intersection of Airport Blvd.
“When we landed the assignment, we had a pretty good idea the backfill user would be something other than typical retail,” Dexter said. “Big-box retail has been contracting in recent years, evidence of which appears on the other side of Bel-Air Blvd. and Airport Blvd. We targeted call centers, fitness enterprises, municipal and county, entertainment concepts, churches and other non-retail prospects like self-storage.”
Originally established in 1948 in Washington D.C. as Children’s Supermarket, the well-known nationwide toy retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2017. The local Toys R Us space was constructed in 2005 and was closed along with some 735 U.S. stores nationwide shortly thereafter, liquidating domestic operations.
The stores were then collectively put up for bid. The Mobile location ended up conveying to Kelso & Company, a group out of Los Angeles for $790,000, per probate records. In January 2019 the entity emerged from bankruptcy rebranded as Tru Kids under new ownership.
“While we miss the nostalgia associated with Toys R Us,” Coker said, “to be able to deliver a return on investment of this magnitude on a commercial property in such a short timeframe is helps contribute towards the continued growth of Mobile.”
“The property went on the market Fall of 2018, and by early 2019 we received our first Letter of Intent from an Atlanta-based self-storage developer,” Dexter said. “We then picked up another offer from Houston, central Florida and from bigger markets. They liked what they saw in this specific location, the local area demographics, proximity to the I-65/Airport Blvd. interchange and the property’s central location in the Mobile market.”
The developer is also re-listing the southern 1.68-acre parcel with NAI Mobile for sale separately. More information about the development can be found on NAI Mobile’s website, naimobile.com
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