In Chile and Panama, there’s another trend developing. These countries have seen an increase in mixed-use developments that include self-storage in business parks and shopping centers. A good example is Mi Bodega Self Storage in Santiago, Chile.
Due to land costs, any development in the area is vertical. The Mi Bodega project consists of 10 stories: The underground floor is self-storage; the ground level consists of retail space; two floors are dedicated for parking; five floors are office suites; and the top floor is a convention center. These types of facilities are being duplicated throughout the city as standalone projects or within business parks, which include showrooms, retail and office space. In Panama, new self-storage development is an integral part of shopping-center projects to offset the cost of land and provide an added value to tenants.
Pledging to Be Green
The green movement seems to permeate all areas of development in Latin America. In Chile, self-storage operators pledge that their design, construction and operation will be in accord with the preservation of our environment, focusing on energy efficiency, waste management and biodegradable products. In Costa Rica, facility construction involves the use of LED lighting, energy-efficient office equipment, HVAC efficiency, and green walls and landscaping. It’s beautiful to walk into a storage property and see that instead of asphalt in the parking area, they use blocks that allow grass to grow. There are ivy walls at the entrance and vines rather than cyclone fence.
Latin America never ceases to surprise me. It’s an evolving region trying to find its own identity while adapting to European and U.S. self-storage standards. There are many challenges ahead, in particular related to land costs and government regulation. Nevertheless, the industry is doing well and growing strong.
Nancy Torres is director of business development Latin America for Janus International, a provider of doors and building components for the self-storage industry. In addition to cultivating business in the region, she serves as president of the Latin America Self Storage Association. Prior to joining Janus, Torres managed the construction of several self-storage facilities and spearheaded the construction process in Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.janus-intl.com .