The latest survey statistics indicate the robust growth of the Spanish storage market. The accompanying chart compares the number of sites in the countries leading the European industry, and the years in which those storage markets were launched.
Only six years after the introduction of self-storage to Spain, the market’s growth has surpassed that of most European countries. But recently, two major factors have contributed to a slowdown of the Spanish economy. The decline is being driven by real estate prices, which have reached the highest levels in history. Yet, Spanish spending power has not achieved average European levels.
These factors may hinder overly ambitious business plans. A similar situation occurred in France a few years ago when, after the initial years of high market growth, a slowdown period followed, and many self-storage operators disappeared.
In October 2002, fellow businessman Arnaud Ripert (from France) and I opened Spain’s first self-storage site under the Bluespace brand name. The pioneer facility was in a leased building with 853 units and about 5,000 square meters of space. Our aim was to build the Spanish self-storage market by offering the highest quality of service. The industry was new and had few customers, but awareness of the product increased quickly, and within a few months, units started to rent at a rate of 250 square meters per month.
Only five years after its opening, Bluespace has become the largest storage operator in Spain, with more than 16 percent of the country’s existing stores. The company has 11 facilities offering more than 71,000 square meters of space: Barcelona (6), Madrid (3) and Valencia (2). Four more facilities are under construction.