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Got Dirt? Adding Space to an Existing Self-Storage Facility

Bruce L. McCardle Comments
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With the land already paid for and, hopefully, at least partially cleared and graded, your development and construction costs are going to look really good. Combined, this should make your pro forma very appealing to a financer.

It shouldn’t take much research to determine a unit mix for the new buildings. If your occupancy is to the point where you need more units, you should also be at a place where it’s pretty clear what sizes work in that particular market—and which ones to avoid.

All things considered, this is a really good time to build. Material prices are as low they’ve been in several years, and material supplies are abundant. Contractors and subs are not very busy and are looking for work that is ready to start. Most architects’ and engineers’ schedules and workloads are fairly light; no more waiting several months to be accommodated.

Money for new construction is definitely out there. If you’re unable to find it, call me. We’ve found resources putting together very agreeable deals for some of our more savvy developers.

Since you’ll already have experienced subs and installers on your site, this is a good time to talk to them about “those few repairs” on your existing buildings, the ones that have been nagging at you for some time. Remember, when prospective customers come to look at a new unit, the appearance and condition of the existing facility is going to affect their decision as well. Take this time and opportunity to make as many improvements to your existing facility as your budget will allow.

At the End of the Day—It Gets Dark?

In her novel Atlas Shrugged, author and philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, “By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions cannot exist. If you find one, check your premises, and you will find that one of them is wrong.” As I listen to “those who are supposed to know” tell me what I’m supposed to think about our economy, and then see how people are actually responding, there’s an obvious contradiction.

Wise developers, entrepreneurs and investors realize this is a great time to build. They’re finding new and creative ways to put deals together, and moving forward in spite of the downturn. The economy always has been and always will be cyclical, and they’re willing to risk that "We shall overcome," as has happened in history time and again.

It’s not going to be “those who are supposed to know” who bring us out of this financial crisis. It’s going to be the hard-working, clear-thinking, risk-taking, like-minded entrepreneurs who fight their way through this and win. I don’t agree the time of prosperity is over and things will never be like they were before. That is entirely up to us. Personally, I refuse to be a victim. How about you? Isn’t this a really great time to build?

L. Bruce McCardle is vice president of eastern division operations for Mako Steel Inc. Based in Carlsbad, Calif., Mako designs, supplies and installs steel buildings for the self-storage industry, including boat/RV storage, multi-story and custom buildings. For more information, call 800.383.4932; visit

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Taking a Cue From the Past to Build the Future of Self-Storage [By Bruce McCardle]

Choosing a General Contractor : A new attitude for a new market [By Bruce McCardle]

Knights of the Wrong Table : Don't believe industry naysayers  [By Bruce McCardle]

Due Diligence: Critical to Obtaining Self-Storage Financing

Due Diligence Turns the Tables : Be a wary buyer

Due Diligence : Deal-maker or deal-breaker?

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