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The Canadian Conversion Scene: Successful Self-Storage

Shawn Baker Comments
Continued from page 1

When Size Matters!

Many people would agree that a facility with 60,000 to 65,000 square feet of rental space is an ideal operation. To create a single-story facility of this size will require 2.5 acres of property. Based on a three-story development, the same self-storage operation can be created on three-quarters of an acre. The difference in the land square footage is drastic but the potential income is the same.

A single-story building with a 30-foot clearance offers the same development square footage as a two story. And if a two-story conversion makes sense, calculate the returns of converting a building with a footplan of 25,000 square feet into a three story.

Speedy Construction

The fast-track construction method is ideal for an internal conversion. Once a suitable location has been found, a list of items and timelines should be established:

  • Are the original floor plans and/or foundation drawings available?
  • What is the architect’s turnaround time on code-ready building permit drawings?
  • What is the city’s turnaround time for building permit approvals?
  • Is the contractor motivated to a fast closing date?
  • Are all required construction trades available?

This list will give you an idea of the required time it will take to get to first date of construction. Remember, when you take possession of the building you also take possession of the bills. Cost can be controlled by being ready to begin construction when you assume ownership of the building.

When you have satisfied the conditions and are ready to close on the property, the architect should have the required code-ready drawings for submission for building permits ready. In addition, the following requirements should already be in place:

  • Contract signed with general contractor.
  • Demolition permit approved.
  • All sub-trades contracted and ready to begin work.

The expected timeframes for construction will vary due to the size of the project. Careful planning, preparation and due diligence will limit untimely construction delays and unwarranted expenses. By following this outline, your building conversion has the maximum chance to be profitable.

Shawn Baker is the sales and marketing manager for Ontario-based Canadian Metal Manufacturing Inc. (CMMI), the developer of Turnkey Self-Storage Systems for the Canadian market. Established in 1999 as a metal fabricating company for the general building construction,CMMI turned its primary focus to the self-storage industry in 2003. For more information, call 888.951.1762; visit

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