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In North Center, So Long Manufacturing, Hello (Another) Storage Site

By Patty Wetli | September 21, 2017 9:06am | Updated on September 21, 2017 12:07pm
 The former home of Graymills Manufacturing is being converted to self-storage.
Graymills Manufacturing
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NORTH CENTER — The Graymills building, a sturdy presence on Lincoln Avenue, is being converted from a hub for making stuff to a hub for storing stuff. 

The Graymills company, which manufactures industrial pumps and inking systems, decamped for the suburbs in 2016 after more than 70 years in Chicago. 

The company had been looking to move since the 1990s, its desire to expand limited by the unusual layout of the property at 3705 N. Lincoln Ave., which is split into two buildings (one dating to 1870) separated by CTA Brown Line tracks, Graymills explained on its website.

The building was quickly snapped up by The Lockup, which operates storage facilities in eight states, for $7.35 million, according to public records.

Self-storage has grown to a reported $38 billion annual business in the U.S., with monthly spending on the construction of new storage facilities nearing 300 million a month, statistics show.

According to the Self Storage Association, the total amount of self-storage rentable space in the U.S. tops 2.5 billion square feet, or an area more than three times the size of Manhattan Island.

As comedian George Carlin once said, "That's the meaning of life. Trying to find a place to keep your stuff."

The Graymills property is split into two buildings, bisected by CTA Brown Line tracks. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]