Why Add Flex Space?
Self-storage projects can be a terrific investment, but it’s a daunting task to get financing right now. Not only are banks requiring smaller loan-to-value ratios, they want larger equity (customer cash and property ownership). Flex projects can be smaller in scale, often just one or two buildings, and easier to finance.
In areas where the self-storage market is already saturated, flex space is worth consideration. Lot sizes can be smaller and location is less critical. This kind of project is allowed in various commercial and industrial zones where self-storage might not be.
Flex buildings can also complement an RV-storage facility. Larger RV spaces can be blended into flex-space buildings and appeal to commercial customers as well.
Potential customers include contractors of all kinds, small businesses, distributors, companies looking for a satellite location, and large RV owners. There’s a good market for this kind of space, especially at lower cost than the tilt-up concrete buildings prevalent in most business parks. In this economy, many companies would like to downsize into a more affordable space.
Why Modular Mini Storage?
Modular Mini Storage’s pre-fabricated walls can easily be insulated, wired, plumbed, sheetrocked and sided with a variety of architectural finishes. Firewalls are no problem. Costs are much lower than concrete tilt-up, rigid-frame or framed-in-place construction. Foundations are simple turned-down slabs. Almost all walls are weight-bearing shear walls that distribute roof loads over the floor slab (no special footings to support trusses or rigid frames).
Modular Mini Storage has provided more than a 1,000 building kits in its 17 years, many specially designed for severe Northwest climates. The company pre-fabricates steel-framed walls in its Tualatin, Ore., shop to ensure quality, shorten construction time and lower costs. All exterior walls are double-wall construction, roofs are standing-seam with extra insulation, and partitions are specially designed to minimize condensation. Buildings are tight, well-insulated and energy-efficient.
Modular Mini Storage’s version of flex space includes 14-foot- to 30-foot-wide bays with 12-foot-wide by 14-foot-high doors. Walls are prefabricated in the shop and delivered to the site ready to stand in place. Interior office walls, windows, doors and insulation are included with the building kit. Back-lit awnings are available for office fronts. Construction costs are about the same as a typical self-storage facility.
Environmentally green construction includes steel components with a high percentage of recycled steel, oriented-strand board made from fast-growing sustainable wood sources, and organic insulation with a binder that requires 70 percent less energy than oil-based binders.
Modular also provides site layouts, appropriate unit mixes and assists self-storage owners during the planning and permit process.
Terry Wellner is an engineer and president of Modular Mini Storage, a building-kit manufacturer near Portland, Ore., that specializes in easy-to-build panelized self-storage, RV/boat storage and flex-space buildings. Mr. Wellner works with customers to help them make the best use of their properties by providing well-designed site layouts, appropriate unit mixes and buildings that best meet their needs. For more information, call 503.692.3532; e-mail email@example.com.