From steel to storage: Atlas admin building’s new role

by Kris Dube Special to The Welland Tribune

An iconic building in Welland is in the process of being converted into a climate-controlled storage facility that will offer 367 units for customers to carefully keep valuables, they don’t have room for
at home, protected and out of harm’s way.

Storage Guyz Inc., a company that already has a smaller site in the city on Vaughan Road and another in Port Colborne, took over the former corporate headquarters of Atlas Specialty Steels late last year and by this fall, plans to open its flagship site at the building.
The company, led by president Sandeep (Sunny) Chera, also plans to keep as much local history intact as it can from when the local steelmaker operated out of the facility.

“We figured this would be a great way to re-purpose this site,” said Chera.

There are other bigger facilities in the region, but the building will stand on its own once completed, according to Chera.

“This will be the first three-storey storage facility in Niagara,” said Chera, also noting that the building’s high ceilings will allow for great volume in each locker.

University students, elderly people downsizing into smaller homes, contractors, people who have simply run out of places to keep their belongings at their residences — there are diverse types of customers in the industry, one that has grown significantly in the last few years, especially as Niagara welcomes new residents from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas.

“Storage is a huge product now in every neighbourhood,” said Chera, who has operated the company since his parents purchased their two other sites in 2007.

“In the last 10 years, it’s been established as a real necessity in the Canadian market,” added Chera.

On top of the nearly 400 units the site will make available, 150 parking spots for trailers, recreational vehicles and other large vehicles are also part of the plan.

“We want to put out that premium product, which Welland doesn’t have right now,” he said.

The 43,000 square-foot building was built in the mid 1950s and has sat unused since 2005. The storage industry has received a lot of attention through the hit TV series Storage Wars and
its spinoff programs, something that has made people aware of what is involved, said Chera.

“That show actually educated people about storage facilities,” said Chera.

“For us, it also tells people to pay on time, so they don’t lose their stuff,” he said.” Our space, your solution,” is the motto Chera said his company lives by.

“We’re the problem solvers in your deficiencies in space,” he said.

For more information, visit