A vacant builder’s supply yard was transformed into a multi-story self-storage facility with a pre-engineered interior-mezzanine system. The result was a space-efficient and profitable business for the owner and an asset to the community.
The United Stor-All project in Santa Fe, N.M., owned by San Mateo Storage Partners, is typical of a recent trend in the self-storage industry toward multistory facilities. As governments scrutinize proposals for new sites and land becomes scarce, a growing number of developers are finding that vacant warehouses, lumber yards and other commercial buildings make ideal prospects for conversion to self-storage.
San Mateo Principals Webb Wallace and Rob Lee have developed more than a dozen storage facilities around the country. In Sante Fe, they redeveloped the former Furrow Supply Yard building into a facility with 542 units, including 400 with climate control. The project took less than a year to complete, with a construction phase of less than five months. It opened in June 2005.
Martin Kuziel, an architect with Architectural Alliance of Santa Fe, N.M., handled the overall design of the project. On the exterior, he called for earth-tone paints and a green-patina metal roof to replace the building’s ‘70sera appearance. Inside, lumber warehouses were converted with the help of a design team from U.S. Door & Building Components of Orlando, Fla.
The company’s engineers were given the project’s parameters, including height clearance, unit mix and access points. From there, they planned the mezzanine level, storage units, hallways and stairs. Working from Kuziel’s schematic of the 54,097-square-foot interior, they were able to maximize the rentable space.
Construction was expedited by using U.S. Door’s pre-engineered steel systems. A 10,450-square-foot mezzanine system added a second story to the project under the existing ceiling. A freight elevator at the rear of the building provides a drive-up access point, and prefabricated steel stairs were installed at the end of each hallway. The mezzanine used existing HVAC and lighting systems, minimizing the cost of the conversion; and the additional storage units it created significantly increased the floor-area ratio and value of the property.
The single-height hallways included the necessary components for the lower-level lighting and fire-suppression equipment. They were built around gloss-white, 20-gauge, nonstructural piers and headers that are easily designed for retrofits and strengthen the hallways. The owners chose optional chamfered corners and diamond-plate aluminum corner guards to protect the facility’s walls from being damaged by items being moved in and out of the building. “It’s a design detail that’s much appreciated,” says Wallace. “It keeps the place looking nice for longer.”
The facility’s commercial rollup doors were easily hung on existing buildings because they mount to wood, masonry or steel jambs. They move quietly and efficiently with light-lifting features such as wear-strips on the curtain edge; springs with easy-to-use, adjustable tension devices; and bearings. Each door has a double slide lock suitable for use with padlocks.
Finally, the site features covered parking bays for large vehicles such as RVs and construction equipment. “We have a large vintage car club we hope to rent to,” says Wallace.
U.S. Door is an international supplier of self-storage components, rolling steel doors, wind-load certified doors, interior hallway systems, garage-storage systems, stackable-storage and wine-locker systems, mezzanine systems, portable-building systems and structural pier and header systems. Services include engineering, design, bid take-off and unit-mix layout. For more information, visit www.usdoor.com.