A reader reached out the other day, wondering about a new building that appeared over the last several months on Swanson Street, in that weird industrial area behind the Columbus Commons shopping center. The property in question is 2351 S. Swanson St., a parcel that was home to an ink works back in the day. More recently, it looks like it was a Comcast warehouse for a time, and even more recently it was a transportation hub of some kind, with numerous taxis parking in the parking lot.

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In the past

The building in the image above is now gone, as you might expect. In its place there’s a new four-story building that’s quite obviously not an apartment building. We say this for a couple reasons. First, nobody would build apartments here because nobody would want to live in the middle of this industrial part of town. Though easy access to Ikea is tempting. Also, if you look at the place, the lack of windows is a rather strong indication that it’s not meant for residential use.

Current view
View from the north

Without looking it up, we probably could have guessed that this was going to be a storage facility, just from looking at it. But we did look it up, and the permits confirm that it is indeed going to be a storage facility. Specifically, this will be a Beyond Self Storage location, making for their second spot in town and joining a location in the northeast. What makes this storage company different from other storage companies? We don’t know. Why are there several storage companies when it seems there aren’t many competitive advantages or differentiating factors in this industry? Again, no clue.

Across the street

Normally, we are not fond of storage facilities. We panned (and continue to regret) the place at 23rd & Washington. We lamented the yet unrealized plan for a storage facility near Broad & Spring Garden. This one… seems like a decent enough idea, given the location. Again, this is a weird industrial area, sitting between I-95 and a big shopping center, so it’s not like this is happening instead of some more compelling mixed-use development. If anything, given the presence of South Bowl a few blocks to the south and 2300 Arena across the street, this area has some commercial potential, but that could take years to come to fruition and requires some serious squinting to convince yourself that it’s even possible. Marie Kondo might disagree, but storage facilities are necessary- and they have to go someplace. And this one feels pretty innocuous, all things considered.