Real estate developer Diversified Development Inc. is building a three-story self-storage facility in Asheville, N.C. The property on Bleachery Boulevard will comprise a total of 93,000 square feet, 64,000 of which will be rentable space. Expected to open in 2017, the building will cover 2.25 acres of the 6-acre site, according to the source.
The multi-story project is a contrast to the sprawling self-storage facilities common in the area, the source reported. "It used to be you had a gravel lot and you weren't doing anything else with the land, so you would throw a building up and rent out spaces," said Will Batson, chief development officer. "What you're finding with land and development costs getting more expensive, it makes more sense to go vertical rather than spreading out.”
Diversified paid $750,000 for the land and will invest approximately $6.5 million in the project, the source reported. The site is less than a mile from a Walmart Supercenter, near established and in-development apartment complexes.
Multi-family housing has attracted several storage developers to the area, the source reported. Asheville has a 1 percent apartment vacancy rate, creating what city officials have called a “housing crisis.”
Mountcastle Corp., a commercial and land-development firm based in Johnson City, Tenn., is also building a three-story self-storage facility in Asheville. Located on Hendersonville Road south of Long Shoals Road, the property will encompass 69,842 square feet of rentable space in 614 climate-controlled units.
"One of the main factors that brought us to Asheville, and especially South Asheville, is that over the last five years, that area has exploded with multi-family housing," said John Marshall, president of Mountcastle. Choosing multi-story for the $7 million project was an easy choice, he added. "It's the land prices in that area. It's hard to find enough contiguous acreage to do a one-story that makes sense."
The site is in a heavy retail area, which garners more traffic and visibility; but the location dictates a more aesthetically pleasing look, Marshall said. “You’ll see the [appearance] on the outside of this building will be stepped up a notch or two. We're using two different styles of brick and aluminum accents on top. We want it to be something the community can be proud of," he said.
Diversified plans to spend an extra $300,000 on its exterior, which will feature brick and glass, Batson said. The building will include elevators and all climate-controlled units.
The development of more multi-story self-storage properties will likely continue as demand rises, according to Rusty Pulliam, CEO of Pulliam Properties, the firm that brokered the land deal for Mountcastle. Pulliam is also a partner in several upscale apartment complexes in Asheville, including Weirbridge Village.
"We've got about 75 to 100 garages at Weirbridge Village that we rent out for cars and storage, and they stay full," he said. "With all the multi-family [apartments] being built around here, I wouldn't be surprised to see two or three more of [the multi-level storage buildings] go up."
Demand for self-storage in the area continues to be strong, said Melissa Dermid, whose family operates the single-story, multi-building Arden Asheville Mini-Storage facility in Arden, an unincorporated community in Asheville. The facility recently added two new storage buildings and plans to add two more. "We do have some climate-controlled units—about 20 percent of ours are climate-controlled—but we're out of all of those, except for one unit,” she said.
George's Stor-Mor on Swannanoa River Road is also enjoying high occupancy levels, according to facility manager Linda Carter. The facility offers 322 climate-controlled, interior storage units, which seems to be a customer preference, the source reported. "The demand is extremely good, especially in the summer," Carter said. "It's very seasonal; but even in the wintertime, I'd say we're past 90 percent full. Right now we have just the one size available."
Columbia, S.C.-based Diversified Development is a full-service commercial real estate firm. Its services include advisory, brokerage, development and project-management services, with a primary focus on office and retail.
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