If you’re going to build a self-storage facility in a crowded market, two components are essential: visibility and convenience. Thomas and 83rd Self Storage, the newest store to open in the bustling yet successful Phoenix market, has those elements in spades.
Located near one of Phoenix’s main freeway arteries, the store—named after its prime location—takes the quest for a good site to a new level. The facility is close to the freeway and also en route to Phoenix’s nearest lake, just 30 minutes out of town; the new Arizona Cardinals stadium, complete with restaurants, movie theater and shopping; plus an ample supply of homes, condos and apartments. Adding to all that, the store takes advantage of frontage along 83rd Ave., a busy channel connecting the north and south ends of Phoenix and its nearby suburb, Glendale.
The facility, owned by a group of investors, is just under 165,000 square feet on 4.5 acres. Construction began in March 2007, with the store opening a year later. As in most cities and towns, the construction called for attention to aesthetics. “There’s no doubt there’s a demand for higher-end architecture and this would certainly qualify for that,” says Tarik Williams, vice president of TLW Construction Inc. The Mesa, Ariz., company, a full-service general contractor, led the project.
One of the biggest challenges was the two-story buildings, two of which are located on the property. “The city wanted them to be hidden,” Williams says. To appease the city board, the two-story buildings were reconfigured to the interior of the project. Plus, exterior buildings were restricted to a height of 18 feet.
To create an upscale aesthetic appeal, curvilinear architecture was incorporated. There are arches around the perimeter with larger ones dominating the front office, a 1,000-square-foot building that also includes a retail area and manager’s office. Other architectural elements on the property are linear, which creates a unique contrast of shapes.
The property is managed by Professional Self Storage Management. The company will be responsible for hiring, training and managing the onsite team, and assume other duties such as preventative and ongoing maintenance, bookkeeping and accounting functions, sales and collections, marketing and advertising. The management software is manufactured by Sentinel Systems Corp.
Another key component to the design was customer convenience. The second-story units are climate controlled, and there are four elevators. “The number of elevators makes it very convenient and there are also eight staircases,” Williams says. “That tends to be an issue when trying to rent a second floor unit. So we made sure the elevators are as tall and wide as possible.” In fact, the original design called for smaller elevators. “We increased the height by a foot and the depth by 6 inches,” Williams notes. “Basically, if you can’t get into the elevator with your sectional couch, you’re not going to rent up there.”
Wide driveways accommodate trailers, boats and other toys. “It was a really flat sight so there weren’t a lot of elevation issues,” Williams says. “In order to maximize the site usage, we had to store some of the drain water underground.”
TLW turned to Azstar Communications in Mesa, Ariz., to install the facility’s integrated security system. Azstar chose security components from PTI Integrated Systems for the project. In addition to traditional security measures, such as gate access, keypads and electronic door strikes, Azstar also installed keypads on the facility’s two-story buildings, restricting access to the buildings’ tenants only.
The front office has two 42-inch flat screen monitors: one for video surveillance, another for site graphics, including occupancy and delinquent accounts. And the property’s 24 cameras are linked to a 32-channel DVR recorder, an upgrade over previous DVR recorders. “The 32-channel DVR has become more affordable in the last year,” explains Greg Sherwood, Azstar’s director of self-storage. The 32-channel DVR simplifies recording. “The manager only has to maintain and operate one video system,” Sherwood adds.
Another security component more self-storage developers—and tenants—are looking for is advanced intercom systems. Azstar installed an above-average system that includes not just an intercom, but also music and a paging system. The facility features an intercom every 75 to 100 feet. “It’s very customer friendly,” Sherwood notes. “The music tends to make people feel more comfortable, especially in the large buildings.”
For more information, call TLW Construction at 877.392.1656, or Professional Self Storage Management at 520.320.9135.