Even though the majority of corridors in a particular development may run east-west, there is nothing wrong with turning a section of the units 90 degrees so the corridors run north-south. The primary consideration in doing this is so the number of turns from the elevator and the distance to the units does not become unreasonable.
Cost vs. Profit
The beauty of getting maximum efficiency from a building is that it doesn’t cost much more than an inefficient design but will maximize income. Corridors don’t provide any rent, so eliminate them wherever possible. Recently, a reworked unit mix for a three-story structure resulted in an additional 1,400 square feet of rentable space. That’s the equivalent of adding fourteen 10-by-10 units without enlarging the footprint of the building. The cost increase for doing this was minimal, but the added earning potential was significant.
Not all architects are created equal, and leaving the unit-mix design up to the architect may not maximize unit efficiency. Getting the right layout is like putting together a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces that can fit together in a variety of ways, but for maximum efficiency, each piece needs to be in the right place. Not everyone has the patience or the understanding of spatial relationships necessary to accomplish this task.
However, by learning these few basic rules about layout efficiency, you can move closer to maximizing the earning potential of your self-storage development. Remember the lesson from the ball park: Make the customer comfortable, but avoid the temptation to add a few extra inches between the rows.
Kent Flake is the owner of Arizona-based Full Circle Storage Consulting, a subsidiary of West-States Storage Group LLC, and has been involved in storage development since 1996. For more information, call 480.202.1669; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.