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Oak Creek — Call them what you will – business bungalows, garage condos, commercial storage, storage condos, office warehouses or commercial duplexes – but a plan to package such units into a residential-style mini-warehouse development is coming to the city.

The Oak Creek Common Council recently approved a land-use change proposed to allow a self-storage facility to be built at 331 and 401 E. Oak St.

Storage Shop USA wants to develop the property into something that lends an appearance of a nice subdivision composed only of detached garages,

Commercial condos

According to Storage Shop USA's website, this type of development does carry many names, but in all cases they are intended as buildings that businesses can used for a variety of commercial purposes.

Some of the suggested uses listed on the website includes space for self-employed contractors; motorhome, RV, car, and boat storage; basic commercial storage and warehouse space, or even a man cave.

Director of Community Development Doug Seymour called the development "residential-looking in nature" and said it's consistent with the type of development desired in the area.

The development will include six buildings on the lot, according to city documents. Half of them are already reserved, said Greg Thompson of Storage Shop USA, noting that the units are in fact sold, not rented, like most residential condo units.

There is no outdoor storage.

Each duplex has two 25-foot by 50-foot units, which include "heat, lights, 100-amp service, phone, internet, cable, bathroom plumbing, as well as fully drywalled and painted walls and ceilings," according to the company site. The units, as is the case in residential condos, also include snow removal as well as yard maintenance for a fee between $40 and $80.

Additionally, according to their website, it is legal to run a business out of these residential-style garages.

Storing, not living

Some council members expressed a concern about these units having the appearance of a residential development. Would such a design invite people to make use of them as residences instead of storage?

Thompson said he owns a number of other developments like this and there haven't been any issues.

"They're not a high-use property," Thompson said.

Thompson said more than half of renters are typically business owners or hobbyists who use the facilities for storage of things like boats and cars. Some use the units for photography and security storage, he added, though he doesn't get a lot of contractors.

When asked about the cost of the units, Thompson declined to comment. However, according to the website, ownership costs about $100,000 per unit, which varies based on location.

"It looks like a nice upgrade for that area," said Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi.

Oak Creek is already listed on the Storage Shop USA website with spring 2017 availability. This will be the 19th location in Wisconsin, with others in Delafield, Menomonee Falls and Waukesha, among other places – all of which are sold out. A new property is also set to go up in the Racine/Kenosha area, according to the website.

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