While that was happening, 30 metal doors were replaced along with all interior and exterior lighting, at a cost of nearly $9,000. All interior hallways were repainted, covering any graffiti. A temporary Environmental Protection Agency permit was required to remove the hazardous-waste buildup. A 30-yard dumpster was filled, emptied and filled again several times as waste was removed from around the property and cleared out of vacant units.
The office also needed major restoration, including the relocation of the front door and the replacement of sign faces destroyed in a 2004 hurricane. Total cost for the office remodel was roughly $33,000.
The facility’s sign was destroyed in a 2004 hurricane. The new sign is bright and includes the facility’s phone number.
In addition to the physical renovation, the business operation was refurbished. When the management company took over, few of the tenants had leases and tenant ledgers were made manually in pencil. A computer system and property-management software was installed, including credit card capabilities and a tenant-insurance option. Proper forms and documents, including a new lease, were instituted.
While the staff became involved in the community and participated in chamber of commerce events, a marketing plan was implemented. Materials such as brochures, coupons and fliers were created, and a tenant-referral program was initiated. A website was built, offering tenants online payment and reservation capabilities. Although public sales for delinquent units are not yet back on track, all past-due tenants are on payment plans.
With the monetary commitment from the owner and a lot of hard work from the management company and its staff, Hypoluxo Storage is making a comeback. Occupancy is now at 40 percent, on-time rent payments are increasing every month, and past-due accounts are being managed.
The challenges have been many. This project has required the cooperation and assistance from everyone―staff, tenants, neighbors and government officials. The phrase “It takes a village” rings true at this location.
While the Hypoluxo facility is an extreme case, it took years for the facility to fall into such poor condition. It was an unfortunate combination of events and situations that lead to a downward spiral. It didn’t happen overnight, and the revival is a process that will continue to take time. This facility has a long way to go, but is well on its way to recovery and will once again be a strong business in the Florida community.
Linnea Appleby is president of Sarasota, Fla.-based PDQ Management Solutions Inc., which specializes in the management of self-storage properties and offers complimentary services such as operational consulting, new-facility startup, property audits and the “Income Finder Service.” Appleby is a regular contributor to industry trade publications and a frequent speaker at tradeshows and events. For more information, call 941.377.3451; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.pdqmanagementsolutions.com.