When Storage Vault set out to build its second Scottish self-storage property, the company first examined the needs of its customer base. Already in tune with its commercial tenants, the operator looked for ways to serve them even better. What it discovered would take the growing company down a new path: mixed-use development.
“We found that business customers normally need to compromise with regular storage and their office, wasting valuable time traveling between the two every day,” says Fraser Sutherland, property and marketing manager. “By creating a multi-use site, we’re able to attract businesses of all sizes to not only store with us, but to make ourselves their base—in turn, driving more traffic our way.”
An outdated industrial building in Cambuslang, which is just minutes from the center of Glasgow, Scotland, proved to be the ideal location for the project, which would combine storage with office and studio space. The property is next to the M74 highway, the second busiest road in West Scotland. It clocks some 20 million passing vehicles annually, resulting in great exposure for the storage business.
“The site offered a great opportunity to regenerate an old industrial area. The close connection to the city center also gives our customers brilliant access across Glasgow,” says Anthony McAteer, managing director.
Although the location was ideal, the site needed a ton of work to make it operable. Large-scale groundwork was undertaken to prepare the property for drive-up self-storage and studio space.
Next up was a redesign of the property’s power, heat and broadband capabilities. “We moved to a system that runs entirely off of biomass, heating our storage and our offices, and brought the fastest broadband available on site, which was unheard of in this area,” says Brian Gifford, finance and property director. “We also found that new builds have their own difficulties compared with conversions, and that each require a different planning strategy and it truly varies from project to project.”
The first phase opened in October 2016, with 20,000 square feet of drive-up self-storage and 10,000 square feet each of studio and office space. A second phase is under development and will add 40,000 square feet of rentable space.
“The drive-up accessibility is attractive to domestic customers, as they only need to unload once, from their car to their unit. The studio space allows industrial businesses to locate themselves on site, right next to their storage, saving them travel expenses and time,” Sutherland says.
The office spaces begin at 150 square feet and are fully furnished. Conference facilities, meeting rooms, a communal kitchen and lounge are also included in the month-to-month lease.
“We strived for quality offices at our site and found that businesses are jumping at getting their own space as the area is well-connected but previously didn’t have many offices of this quality,” Gifford says.
So what’s ahead for Storage Vault? The operator has seven developments in the pipeline, including projects in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. One of the ventures will combine self-storage with a drive-through Starbucks, a first of its kind in the city. The businesses would be built near the M74 highway on a property at Polmadie Road. Project approval is expected shortly, Sutherland says.
Using the Cambuslang facility as a guide, the company is open to meeting the needs of the customers in each individual market, no matter what they might be. “We can only improve on site to site from what we have learned at Cambuslang,” McAteer says.
Founded in 2015, Storage Vault opened its first storage facility in Paisley, Scotland. It draws on 15 years of experience in commercial property to deliver a safe, secure and easy self-storage service. For more information, e-mail [email protected], visit www.storagevault.com.