Update 2/20/19 – In addition to the four self-storage facilities that were developed through its partnership with NYX, Bluebird plans to build six more properties in the GTA.
Four locations have already opened in Mississauga, Toronto and Woodbridge, and two more are slated for Mississauga and Toronto. Bluebird will also build four sites in Burlington, Vaughan and Whitby. The projects will be a mix of ground-up construction and conversions of existing buildings. They’ll be designed by Leonardo Romanese Architect Inc. and constructed by Maple Reinders.
“We believe there is tremendous runway available for Canadian self-storage development, especially and initially in the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe,” said Reade DeCurtins, managing principal of Bluebird.
In addition to developing new sites, Bluebird plans to acquire existing self-storage facilities as well as provide third-party management, a source reported.
9/28/18 – Private-equity real estate investment firm NYX Capital Corp. has partnered with Bluebird Self Storage to develop properties in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The companies’ short-term plan is to build three to five storage facilities annually, beginning with a $40 million conversion project at 1450 Don Mills Road in Toronto and a 169,000-square-foot new development near Southdown Road in Mississauga, Ontario. All the projects affiliated with the partnership will be branded as Bluebird but managed by Life Storage Inc., a U.S.-based self-storage real estate investment trust and third-party management firm, according to the source.
NYX has previously focused on residential and commercial development and investments, but believes self-storage is a “very underserved” market in Canada, with a low number of class-A facilities, said Max Vo, vice president of Investments for NYX.
“Self-storage has sort of been on our radar because the more that we’ve researched about it, it seems to be an asset class that purchases very good risk-adjusted returns from a development basis,” Vo told the source. “On a risk-adjusted basis, right now I feel that it exceeds many of the other traditional real estate investment classes.”
The Don Mills project will convert the former “National Post” newspaper building into three stories of self-storage. The partnership acquired the 159,000-square-foot building in June for $22 million. The developers plan to build onto what is now the parking lot to add another 50,000 square feet of storage space, according to the source. Construction is expected to be complete within two years.
The Mississauga facility will be built on an industrial site, where two buildings will be demolished to make room for the development, estimated at up to $24 million. That project is also expected to be complete in two years, the source reported.
Bluebird has a 20-year working history with Life Storage, which NYX found advantageous. “Even though the stores will be branded Bluebird, the backbone is really the Life Storage team,” Vo said.
Bluebird operates six self-storage facilities in Ontario. The company has six other storage projects under development in Canada that don’t involve NYX. It also develops self-storage for other companies, according to the source.
Based in Toronto, NYX specializes in commercial, industrial and residential real estate and development projects throughout Canada.
Based in Buffalo, Life Storage operates more than 700 self-storage facilities in 28 states under the Life Storage and Uncle Bob’s brands. Its portfolio of owned and managed facilities comprises more than 50 million square feet.
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