"We turned a pig into a prince," said John Beyer of Glen Head, whose company, , is putting the finishing touches on renovations of the former Photocircuits building at 88 Hazel Street.
Beyer said the building sits on two-and-a-half acres separate from the rest of the former company's property. The building had been assumed to be as polluted as the rest of the 25-acre site is, but the area was deemed clean and the way cleared for renovations to the 52,000-square-foot facility.
Photocircuits closed in April 2007 after manufacturing circuit boards at the location since 1951.
"The building was in ruins," Beyer said, adding that it was visible to the northbound lanes of Route 107 entering Glen Cove, which passes directly behind the building.
The renovations, done by Racanelli Construction Company of Melville, added a second floor, bringing the square footage to 89,000. Beyer said his company spent more than $3 million turning the empty space into a climate-controlled 800-room self-storage facility complete with video monitoring and around-the-clock access that is ideal for contractors.
He said Building Department director Richard Summa and mayor Ralph Suozzi were motivated to help get the building fixed up and were "terrific" in working with him to get through the permitting process. A bigger challenge was meeting the fire marshall's requirements.
"They really did their job," Beyer said. One requirement, for instance, was that there be spaces for smoke to escape from rooms and lockers should there be a fire inside.
The rentals range from 4-foot-high lockers to 300-square-foot spaces with formal loading docks and unlimited access.
Beyer's sister, Denise, is director of self-storage development at the company, which is based out of Floral Park and also has facilities in Huntington and Islandia.
"You could run your business out of here," she said. She noted her surprise at the enthusiasm she said she's heard from new customers, adding that 10 spaces were rented before the building was officially opened for business on April 9.
"There's a real need for storage in the neighborhood," she said.
The facility is the only one of its kind in Glen Cove, with the closest in Port Washington, which John Beyer said is "more money - and full."