Canadian Self-Storage: Developers Realize the Prize

Richard Leach Comments
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Increased security. Facilities need to install operating software, coded gate and unit alarm systems, and video surveillance for safekeeping the site and ensuring customers’ safety. Tenants now expect ongoing property protection, and security is a necessary sales tool for competing in the new frontier.

Appearance. Older facilities need sizable investment renewal programs for re-branding and repositioning of existing storage sites. Stores need to upgrade from an old, worn look to a new, fresh one to level the playing field in many markets. Consistency of appearance and presentation designed to compete with competitive new sites is resulting in a constant overall market upgrade.

Design. For many early sites, the original self-storage concept was to use the land short term in a profitable way until a more lucrative use presented itself. As these temporary buildings sprang up, design was not a major concern. In the developer’s mind, the buildings were not intended for extended use. Who knew, in the beginning, that the self-storage concept would become such a cash cow?

Better Design Leads to Increased Profit

Canadian developers now have their attention on better utilization of the space, building lots and the building envelope. Increasingly, the focus toward better and more cost-effective building design options has resulted in projects that are far more efficient on all levels. These contemporary designs incorporate customer preference and increased functionality.

The newest generation of facility offers many design features such as controlled access openings, automatic corridor lights, HVAC systems that adjust to the customer presence, and loading porticos to protect customers during inclement weather. Increased aisle widths result in less vehicular damage to buildings. The customer-friendly designs result in better return on investment over the long haul of ownership.

Good design also results in more efficient use of the lot and building and yields more rentable square feet of storage space. Design elements such as reducing dead-end corners or constructing efficient corridors that marry two buildings rather than a drive aisle all add up to properties that deliver more rentable square footage than the first-generation product.

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