One of the summer's hottest entertainment phenomena, X-Men: The Movie, opened in theaters in July. The film is about a group of children born with an added "X-factor" attached to their genetic code, allowing them to perform extraordinary feats, such as telekinesis, the ability to fly or shoot laser beams out of their eyes, etc. Shunned by society as "mutants," the members of this unusual breed are taken in by an understanding doctor who trains them to use their powers for the forces of good. And, of course, there is a villain, Magneto, hell-bent on destruction, and a psuedo-hero, Wolverine, who becomes the center of the plot.
The point of all this? Aside from applauding the movie's showcase of some amazing special effects? This month's cover story, "Space-Age Designs," addresses the necessity of constructing self-storage buildings for a new era. The astounding growth that has been witnessed in the self-storage market over the past 30 years--particularly the most recent decade--has created both an environment of competition as well as a need for advanced building technology. According to Michael Parham, the next logical step in the evolution of the self-storage product comes in the area of design, with attempts to develop the most economical, marketable facility.
What will ultimately articulate the extraordinary from the mediocre in self-storage will be those all-important X-factors--or S(torage)-factors, if you will: Economic land coverage, maximized land utilization, flexible unit mix, maintenance-free building components, and user-friendly driveways, parking, hallways and unit placement are sure to become the deciding factors in determining facilities' success. As market competition intensifies and land costs rise, developers--the S-Men--will think toward these mitigating factors.
Also in this issue, Bret Ellis outlines the three key components to the construction of a successful self-storage project, highlighting some of the major steps in the process and offering some inside tips on proper documentation, working with architects and contractors, communication in the field and more. You'll find information on the potential and possible pitfalls of a recent industry trend: mobile storage. And R.K. Kliebenstein and Neal Gussis share their expertise, where they answer the question, "What to do when lenders disappear?," addressing an issue that effects development across the board.
Whether you're a developer investigating new self-storage projects or an established operator contemplating improvements to your facility, keep an eye out for those S-factors and their patrons of justice. It just may be you they save someday.
Teri L. Lanza
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