The facility will also sell moving and packing supplies
June 4, 2018: Self-storage owner Robert Taft is seeking permission to convert the former Jefferson Court Motel in New Castle, Pa., to a new storage location. Taft recently presented his plans to the city council for the property at 115 N. Jefferson St., which he purchased from local attorney Paul Lynch in January for $20,000, according to the source. If the plan is approved, he will invest about $50,000 to convert the hotel’s 56 rooms and bathrooms to climate-controlled storage units.
“The planning commission granted its blessing. I hope the city council adds its approval,” said Taft, who purchased Shenango Mini Storage at 405 W. Grant St. in New Castle four years ago. “We’ve had 100 percent occupancy for some time. I hope to have the same success with this place.”
The plans include preserving much of the building’s overall look. Broken and missing windows on the exterior of the L-shaped structure will be replaced, with those facing the alley to be closed in or otherwise secured. Taft, who also owns Taft Plumbing & Heating in Hermitage, Pa., will be doing most of the work himself.
“If council approves my request at its June 28 meeting, I expect to get started right away and go full-bore,” he said. “Unless I uncover a curve ball, we expect to have at least some of the units available for rental in six months.”
During the May 24 public hearing, council members asked about operation details but were supportive of the project. Council president Bill Panella sought information about Taft’s plans for signage, operating hours and onsite staff. In response, Taft noted the property would be unmanned and open 24/7, similar to Shenango Mini.
Although unable to date the property, Taft guessed the building was likely built in the 1950s or 1960s. “It’s based on the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. I like it,” he said, adding that the structure was sound. “There were broken windows, but the building has held up surprisingly well. There were no cracks or sagging anywhere. It was built right.”
Following his purchase, Taft rented a dumpster and emptied the trash and furnishings from the building. He also had to deal with vagrants who’d been living on the property.