SmartStop Asset Management LLC, a diversified real estate company that manages 103 self-storage facilities in Canada and the United States, will partner with Canadian real estate investment trust SmartREIT in a joint venture to develop and co-own self-storage facilities in Canada. The companies intend to create a joint portfolio of storage properties comprising 75,000 to 125,000 square feet each, with some assets to include leasable retail space, according to a press release. Two locations in the Toronto area have been identified, with plans for additional assets forthcoming.
SmartREIT owns and manages 32 million square feet in retail centers primarily anchored by Walmart. It has recently expanded its portfolio to include office, residential and self-storage on large urban properties or as adjuncts to its shopping assets, the release stated.
"We view today's third-generation, multi-story self-storage facilities as being a complementary use within and around our centers, requiring minimal land and parking, resulting in efficient rental income value creation," said Huw Thomas, CEO of SmartREIT. "This strategic alliance is a logical step as we continue to intensify our shopping centers and unlock value in underutilized parcels of land within our portfolio. We are very pleased to partner with SmartStop, a leader in the self-storage industry with a proven expertise and track record to expand the business in partnership across Canada."
SmartStop has also been diversifying its portfolio, recently expanding into the student-housing sector. "We are excited to partner with one of the largest Canadian REITs and utilize SmartREIT's prime retail properties for additional SmartStop Self Storage locations," said H. Michael Schwartz, founder and CEO of SmartStop. "This joint venture gives SmartStop the opportunity to expand its existing 12-property portfolio in the Greater Toronto area to other major metropolitan areas across Canada. By leveraging SmartStop's existing online-marketing expertise, institutional management, and revenue-optimization systems, the partnership will provide growth for both SmartREIT and SmartStop."
SmartREIT has assets totaling more than $8.7 billion. Its retail properties include local, regional and national merchants. The company is a fully integrated real estate provider that offers construction, development, leasing, operational and planning services.
SmartStop has approximately $1 billion of real estate under management. Its self-storage portfolio comprises about 7.5 million rentable square feet. It’s also the sponsor of Strategic Storage Growth Trust Inc., a public, non-traded REIT focused on self-storage acquisition and development, and Strategic Storage Trust II Inc., a public non-traded REIT that focuses on stabilized self-storage properties.