Reporter's note: This story has been amended from an earlier version.
The vacant Kmart building in Longview might have a future as apartment homes and a self-storage/mini warehouse facility.
Local engineering, architecture and surveying services firm Johnson & Pace received a specific use permit and rezone recommendation Tuesday from the Longview Planning and Zoning Commission for the building and surrounding lot at 1100 McCann Road.
“We’ve done a conceptual layout of the property,” engineer Jeff Hamilton said, “and right now we’re hoping to be able to put about 160 units on the property.”
Johnson & Pace is acting as an agent regarding the building and on behalf of “a prospective buyer” for the adjacent 7.02-acre parking lot, according to the city. Houston-based Longview Development LLC is in the closing stages of purchasing the property, according to Steve Bigelow who represents the development group.
The building has been vacant since national retailer Kmart permanently closed in March 2016.
The property of more than 11 acres is zoned planned development with the allowed use of general retail. While the permit would allow the building to be developed into a self-storage facility, Johnson & Pace wants to rezone the parking lot to a multi-family district “to allow development of multi-family apartments,” according to the firm’s application to the city.
The City Council will consider final approval of the request. If approved, no outside storage would be allowed at the location.
“It’s just completely internal to the building. We’re not planning to have anything outside of the building – no outside displays or storage of that nature, but internal self-storage units,” Hamilton said. “We’re planning for a circulation all around the self-storage building for fire protection access.”
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Tracy Vincent asked whether asbestos removal would be part of the conversion for the building, but Hamilton said if any demolition occurs, asbestos abatement would be required.
In other business, the commission also recommended rezoning a nearly 3-acre lot in the 1600 block of East Loop 281 from agriculture to general retail zoning to allow for a six-foot, lighted monument sign to be built.
Commissioners held public hearings on all three requests, but no one spoke in support or opposition.