Idaho Responds to Self-Storage Associations Regarding State Purchase of Facility

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The national Self Storage Association (SSA), which recently expressed opposition to the purchase of a Boise, Idaho, self-storage facility by the state, received a response from George B. Bacon, director of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL).

In August, the state of Idaho bought a 400-plus-unit Affordable Self Storage facility in a Boise suburb for $2.7 million as a means of investing for a public-schools endowment fund. In response, the SSA and Idaho Self Storage Association sent a letter to the IDL and Idaho Department of Land Commissioners expressing concerns about the state competing with the private business sector. In the letter, SSA President and CEO Michael T. Scanlon Jr. stated that the purchase of the facility by the state creates an unfair competitive advantage over other local self-storage operators and requested that Idaho divest itself of the property.

Last week the SSA received an official response from Bacon, who said the state’s practice of purchasing and managing properties including office buildings and parking lots helps mitigate taxes for Idaho citizens and supports public schools and other institutions. He further said the states followed “a traditional investor path” in purchasing the self-storage facility and local citizens enjoy certain ancillary benefits generated by the trust, such as “hunting, fishing, hiking, berry picking,” and “limited camping and motorized activities."

In response to the self-storage association’s request that the state of Idaho refrain from future purchases of self-storage facilities, Bacon said that while no prudent investor would divulge his specific business strategy, the trust’s asset-management plan does “articulate the desire and need to bring more diversification to the current portfolio.”

Bacon’s full response can be read at www.ssaglobe.org/newsarticles/SSAResponse.pdf.

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