Washington Self-Storage Owner Expands Portfolio With Construction-Challenged Conversion Opportunity

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It was also discovered portions of the new property were formerly used by the railroad industry. Further investigation revealed that a railroad-switching turnstile once existed where one of the elevator pits was being dug.

Maximizing Existing Features

The H.O. Seiffert team remained focused on the positive, maximizing the site’s net rentable square footage while modifying the existing structure as little as possible. The new second-floor, concrete-deck mezzanine doubled the footprint, but due to seismic restrictions, the exterior walls had to be independent from the new infill structure. The team essentially built a steel box inside the existing building.

Careful consideration was given to the unit-mix plan, which had to complement the Everett urban demographics while matching existing market demand. Working with existing conditions such as full-height interior loading docks with 14-foot exterior panel doors, structural systems and existing utilities proved to be a challenge that offered many opportunities. The integrated design features two 24-by-40-foot covered loading areas, 12 12-by-30-foot exterior drive-up units with automatic door openers, a centralized rental office, skylights, and two split-elevator locations to keep travel distances minimal. The combination of these amenities makes the property easy to manage, but more important, customer-friendly.

A Grand Opening

Everett Downtown Storage was completed in November 2008. The building features 67,740 net rentable square feet with 709 heated units and the following amenities:

  • Kiosk
  • Two interior-drive loading bays
  • Two commercial service elevators
  • 12 gas-forced air furnaces providing heated space throughout
  • Exterior wall and ceiling insulation for added efficiency
  • Second-floor skylights and windows for natural light
  • Energy-efficient motion-lighting controls
  • New roof membrane
  • Large drive-up exterior units with power-door operators and keyfob remotes
  • Individual door alarms with quickswitch sensors
  • Eight manager call-station boxes
  • All-facility music and paging system
  • Video-monitoring DVR with a 16-camera system and large office display
  • 14-foot box moving van for customer use

While H.O. Seiffert didn’t accomplish its goal of opening in time for the busy summer/fall renting season, the facility’s occupancy has steadily grown, reaching 60 percent to date and averaging 35 new leases per month. Leasing has been slow but steady in a very tough economic time. The urban location has the good fortune of a strong pool of commercial customers. The large drive-up units with automatic doors have rented quickly and are 100 percent occupied.

The company is excited about the ability to draw from new and existing customer bases, and also refers business from its existing stabilized properties. The Everett project has been well-received by the local community and current customers, recently winning a “Neighborhood Friendly Business” award, sponsored by the City of Everett and its Office of Neighborhoods.

Despite significant construction obstacles, H.O. Seiffert Co. was able to increase its portfolio with a converted state-of-the-art storage facility that includes high-end amenities and is embraced by its market.

Greg Moore is principal of Moore Design Associates, formed in 2002 to specialize in self-storage design services. Moore has several years of design experience including high-rise office buildings, retail design and planning, multi-family housing, and institutional design. To reach him, e-mail gmooredesign@comcast.net .

Everett Downtown Storage Project Team

  • Owner: Eds McDougall LLC and The H.O. Seiffert Co.
  • Architects: Peter Schroeder, Peter Schroeder Architects
  • Structural engineer: Structural Design Associates
  • Metal-building vendor: DMBS
  • General contractor: PugetWest Construction
  • Civil engineer: Perteet Inc.
  • Landscape architect: Moore Design Associates
  • Project design consultant: Moore Design Associates
  • Doors and hallway systems: Janus International
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