Single- vs. Multi-Story Construction in Canadian Self-Storage

Cory Parrow Comments
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When examining the issue of self-storage building style, consider the benefits from your vantage point as an investor as well as your customer’s point of view. If your customers see the style of facility as an advantage, it should increase your revenue with higher volumes of rentals. However, the building style is often dictated by the size of the property and the demographics of the area.

The Single-Story Option

A single-story facility would be the best option for a large site in an area where a large number of units would not be profitable. Single-story construction means no elevators, lifts or stairs. This provides easier access as more of your customers can park closer to their rental space.

Spreading out your facility over a large area also gives you greater marketing exposure to drive-by traffic. In some cases, I have seen facilities stretch more than 700 feet along a roadway. The long frontage is used to market the storage product. Of course, marketing is much more than simply consumer drive-by on a major road, but the exposure will help build your market awareness.

A single-level storage facility will obviously require more land to equal multi-level business volume. If you have already developed all the real estate resources on that site, any expansion will be restricted.

Depending on your municipality, you may have to pay increased property taxes as you continue to develop more of your land. When you submit your single-level site plan, you will be required to establish all of your building locations initially even if you are planning to build in phases. If you need to make changes or add structures later, you will have to go through the site-plan process again.

Additional costs are also created by the span of the facility and not the actual construction method. The biggest increase in cost of single-level building style is from additional roofing required to cover all the units. Other increased expenses would be for additional wiring for lights, cameras and security systems for units. Due to the longer distance between these elements and the office, more cabling will be needed.

When you are ready to put your investment into operation, you will also encounter additional expenses from maintenance and snow removal due to the spread of the laneways and the area of the site.

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