Luxury ‘garage condominium’ concept takes off in Nocatee

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There’s a new community in Nocatee, but it’s not a traditional neighborhood. In fact, it’s a storage facility. But it’s not a traditional warehouse, either. WheelHouse Storage is a secure site with 36 luxury “garage condominiums.”  Chris Pilinko and David Wallace make up the WheelHouse development team. Pilinko, president, introduced the concept in 2015.

When collectors or enthusiasts purchase a climate-controlled unit, ranging from $100,000 to $360,000 depending on size, they are free to build-out the interior however they want. Most of the units contain cars, but some store boats or recreational vehicles. One of the owners, Jeremy Price, didn’t modify the space much at all. He had plans to build a structure, but purchasing a unit at WheelHouse was more cost-effective.

“We love anything outdoors,” Price said. He stores watercraft, four-wheelers and a vehicle in the space, and appreciates the security, convenient location and climate-controlled environment. He also has access to the owner’s lounge at the front of the complex to relax and watch TV, grab a cup of coffee or use the restroom. Some owners have used the lounge for small meetings as a way to get employees or clients out of the typical office environment.

Other owners convert the space, or spaces if they buy multiple units, into somewhat elaborate man caves with a mezzanine, car lift, bathroom, media room and lounge area.

“Community is a big part of WheelHouse,” Wallace said. “Yes, it is functional storage space that they need, but big draw is the opportunity to be around other like-minded individuals with similar passions. In our case, it’s typically cars.”

Greg Bennett stores an eclectic collection at WheelHouse that includes his first classic car purchased about 20 years ago — a 1963 Thunderbird. He doesn’t consider himself a serious collector because his vehicles are more in the daily driver category instead of show quality.

“This is just kind of a fun passion for me,” he said.

Bennett has a mezzanine upstairs that’s about 12 by 20 feet. Along with a variety of automotive signage, models and memorabilia, he has an older model pinball machine and comfortable seating. He said they had a large garage in Palencia, but decided to downsize to a condo at Vilano Beach. He stores two Auburns, the T-Bird, a Plymouth Cranbrook and a surfer’s dream — a Woody Wagon.

“I buy cars because I like them, they strike a chord,” he said. “They’re fun to drive.”

About once a month, Wallace and Pilinko open the gates and garage doors and invite WheelHouse friends and family to spend the afternoon swapping car stories and adventures as well as check out the latest addition to a collection or the latest build-out inside a unit. It’s a way to reinforce the community concept as it was originally intended.

The Ponte Vedra units are sold out, but another WheelHouse Storage is under development on Wm Davis Parkway, across the street from the Mayo Clinic in the San Pablo area. It will be roughly double the size of the Nocatee location.

For more information, visit wheelhousestorage.com or call (904) 899-1136.

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