The Benefits of Developing Condominium Self-Storage

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Owners of expensive recreational vehicles, collectible cars and boats are turning to a relatively new concept in self-storage—condominiums. After shelling out big bucks for a big toy, these owners don’t balk at paying $60,000, $75,000 or even $100,000 for a secure place to keep it. Five storage experts offer their views on this exciting new trend.

Wes Pettit, Storage Condo America

Although the concept of storage condominium ownership is new to Connecticut, the storage condo is rapidly becoming the storage solution for the future, says Wes Pettit, developer for Storage Condo America in Windsor Locks, Conn. Storage Condo America is a storage condominium facility developed by Park Place Storage Condominiums LLC. The company specializes in creating large storage condominium units for personal and commercial uses. Pettit’s background includes construction and operation of traditional self-storage facilities and commercial property development.

“No one can predict the future, but if you look at the history of inflationary trends it’s easy to realize that rents, in general, do not come down,” Pettit says. Although multiple advantages exist for the customer who buys a storage condo, two of the largest are elimination of monthly rents and appreciation of real property that can be later sold. Storage condos can also be listed as an asset on personal balance sheets. Plus, the unit owner has the freedom to install amenities and property improvements to accommodate his needs.

The advantage to the developer is the elimination of long-term responsibility, including staff for the property, Pettit says. Once units are sold, property management comes under the responsibility of an association.

Caesar Wright, Mako Steel Inc.

“The model of condominium self-storage has emerged over past three or four years,” says Caesar Wright, president of Mako Steel Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif. Mako designs, supplies and installs steel buildings for the self-storage industry nationwide.

Most RV-storage facilities sit on 6 to 10 acres of land, but in Southern California, those 6 to 10 acres are worth $12 million to $20 million, Wright says. Many mom-and-pop operations are cashing in and selling their properties to RV/boat storage developers.

While construction is not much different from regular self-storage with the exception of amenities, condos often run into resistance from cities, Wright says. “The condo concept is a different animal than self-storage,” he says. “Many cities are generally not favorable to this type of storage.” City officials question what’s in it for them because the city doesn’t receive any sales tax revenue from the product or income tax derived from use of the labor pool with storage condos. Often, developers must propose something unique or pay for a street or public-service change to gain approval.

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