World View

Canadas First Storage REIT Expands

InStorage Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) agreed to purchase a portfolio of 11 self-storage properties in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $110 million. The facilities operate under the name StorageMaxx in Western Canada and StorageNOW and StorageONE in Ontario. Two of the properties are in Calgary, Alberta; three are in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and the remaining six are in Barrie, Burlington, Etobicoke, Markham and Toronto, Ontario. Collectively, they house approximately 5,900 storage units.

The portfolio will be acquired pursuant to an acquisition agreement between the REITs subsidiary, InStorage Limited Partnership, and the various ownership entities, according to CEO James Tadeson. The acquisition remains subject to customary closing conditions and TSX Venture Exchange approval.

In addition, the REIT and InScotia Developments are paying $112.7 million for Apple Self Storages portfolio of 11 self-storage properties in Ontario and Quebec. The company is also offering $105 million in equity financing at $1.45 per unit.

Toronto-based InStorage, which debuted as Canadas first REIT in August, invests primarily in self-storage properties and ancillary businesses. It is the second largest owner/ operator of self-storage facilities in the country.

Russia Gets First Storage Company

KeySpace opened Russias first self-storage facility in Moscow in February. The 2,400-square-meter site is the first of several to be rolled out across major Russian cities. KeySpace is a sister company of London-based OSG Records Management, which has more than 80 percent market share with operations in seven Russian cities. Both companies are part of the OSG group of companies, specializing in establishing first-mover businesses in emerging economies.

Australian Storage Sees 10 Percent Annual Growth

Australians increasing need to store goods is fueling a 10 percent annual growth to the nations 2 million square meters of storage space, The Courier Mail reported in March. About 75 percent of the space is filled by residential customers. In Brisbane alone, there are more than 70 self-storage facilities offering about 235,000 square meters of space.

Big Yellow Founders Sell Again

The three co-founders of Big Yellow Self Storage sold a large percentage of their holdings just one week after making a similar sale, Share Cast reported in February. Executive Chairman Nicholas Vetch sold 1 million shares, netting £6.71 million. This sale, which followed a sale of 1 million shares the week before, leaves him holding 8.27 percent of the issued share capital. Philip Burks, property director, sold 250,000 shares for £1.67 million, and now holds 7.7 percent of share capital. Chief Executive James Gibson sold the same number of shares, reducing his company stake to 2 percent.

U Can Store It Opens New U.K. Facility

U Can Store It, based in Walsall, England, opened a 2.5-acre, high-security storage center in West Bromwich, England, reported The Express & Star in February. The facility, built on the site of the Rudge Littley foundry, is designed to offer flexible, low-cost self-storage facilities in a safe and secure environment.

Scottish Storage Market Booming

The self-storage market in Scotland is growing rapidly with operators planning to open more stores throughout the country, Property Executive reported in March. One company, HSBC Specialist Investments, invested prolifically in this market, acquiring Edinburgh-based Armadillo Self Storage for £40 million, which has part of its portfolio in Dundee.

Irish Company Launches Free Mobile Service

Barons Self Storage of Galway, Ireland, has launched Irelands first free storage-transport service. The company will pick up, transport and unload goods into a customers unit at a Barons storage facility for free, The Galway Independent reported in February.

LoknStore Group Receives £40M Loan, Sells Site for £10M

LoknStore Group received a £40 million bank loan, which will provide additional liquidity for the groups existing and future plans, the company reported in February. Work is under way for the expansion of its Fareham facility opening in late summer. Construction has also begun on the new freehold Portsmouth store, which will open at years end with approximately 64,000 square feet, bringing the companys total rentable space to approximately 980,000 square feet.

In addition, LoknStore sold its Kingston site for £10 million to a residential developer in March. The terms of the sale are £6 million payable on completion in June and the remaining £4 million plus accrued interest payable in December. The property was bought for £976,000 in 1996. Existing storage customers will be transferred to nearby LoknStores sites.

New Zealands Self-Storage Industry Consolidating

Consolidation is starting to occur in the highly competitive New Zealand self-storage industry, providing windfalls for traditional owner-operators, Radio New Zealand reported in February. The sector has seen massive growth during the past five years, with an estimated 3 percent of the population storing possessions in facilities. However, theres a great deal more room for growth. According to Mike Price, owner of Wellingtons Store-it Self Storage, a large portion of the 1,800 storage facilities in Australasia are owner-operated.

Kennards and Valad Purchase Two Sites

Sydney, Australia-based Kennards Self Storage and Valad Property Group acquired two new storage sites in city suburban areas. The 6,302-square-meter Chatswood site was acquired for A$6.25 million, with a total conversion cost of A$12.9 million for future self-storage development. The Chullora site was acquired for A$1.45 million, with 9,161 square meters of land for future storage development.

In addition, Kennards recently added two centers in Miranda, Sydney. The joint-venture portfolio now comprises 28 sites valued at approximately A$326 million. The entire Kennards portfolio has 56 operating stores with seven additional sites to be developed.

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