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New owner bringing storage facility to Liberty Square Plaza in Merrillville

Jade Construction bought the Liberty Square Plaza in Merrillville for an undisclosed sum.

A new owner has acquired the mostly vacant Liberty Square Plaza shopping center in Merrillville and plans to convert much of it into climate-controlled indoor storage.

Bradley Company sold the strip center at 7880-7890 Broadway to Jade Construction in Merrillville for an undisclosed sum.

"Jade Construction, Inc. and its affiliated companies have worked with Ross Brown in acquiring distressed assets throughout Northwest Indiana, requiring creative strategies to retrofit and re-tenant," Bradley Company said in a news release. "Other successful projects include the acquisition of 8127 Merrillville Road in Merrillville and 600 Vale Park in Valparaiso, both medical office developments."

Liberty Square Plaza, which consists of two 24,396-square-foot buildings on a four-acre site about two blocks north of U.S. 30 and Broadway, is home to Trim-A-Seal of Indiana, A & A Dental, Nail Luv Salon, Xalting Xtensions Hair Salon and Safari African Braids. Just north of the popular Asparagus Restaurant and across the street from U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky's office, the shopping center was long home to the beloved Bon Femme French restaurant that moved to Valparaiso in 2006 and has since closed.

While the frontage along Broadway has remained largely occupied, the tucked-away storefronts facing north and south have not fared as well. Proposals to redevelop the property into entertainment venues were floated last year but never went anywhere.

"Due to the property’s historically high vacancy rate, Bradley’s Ross Brown devised a strategy and plan that involved converting a significant amount of the buildings’ gross leasable area into indoor climate-controlled storage while retaining the Broadway frontage for retail and office uses," Bradley Company said in its news release. "Brown presented the strategy and plan to the principals of Jade Construction, Inc., and they worked closely with Merrillville Town Councilman Shawn Pettit to obtain the necessary variance to reposition the asset in the market."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.