Self-storage development experienced a small hiccup during the pandemic but is back on track these days. Sadly, many communities, however, still view our industry in a negative light. ISS regularly reports on proposed projects in our development news roundup. Often, we see the same protests from community members and city officials against these buildings. They fear an increase in crime and traffic, a decrease in property values, and light pollution. Many also have an outdated idea of what a self-storage facility looks like—namely ugly. They don’t believe the business will offer value to their neighborhood. Rather than being open to it, they dig in their heels and stand against it while clinging to their outdated views on an industry that has drastically changed in the last decade.
A couple of weeks ago, I read a quote from a resident opposed to a development that made me laugh out loud. “So, for the moms in the community that I’ve spoken with, this proposal is completely outrageous,” she said. “We will no longer feel safe and comfortable in our homes. I know that I’m going to have to have an advanced alarm system, always have to have my doors locked and triple checked. It’s been honestly really hard to sleep at night since this proposal has been brought to my attention.”
To be fair, not every self-storage facility is secure or operated in the best manner. I’ve also been in Walmarts that made me make a beeline for the door, and others where I felt good about shopping there. This ideology can really apply to just about any industry as there are variations for all types of products and services in retail, hospitals, car dealerships, grocers and more. When jurisdictions and community members apply stereotypes, however, it’s shortsighted and dangerous.
The last part of the woman’s quote is simply hilarious. This person claims to have trouble sleeping because of a storage development? That’s just silly. There are far bigger problems in the world that should keep her up at night!
Self-storage is a really big deal in investment circles right now. It performed well throughout the pandemic and operators are enjoying high occupancy and successfully passing on rental increases. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more time for the naysayers to accept it in their own backyards. Well, hopefully. Sadly, some jurisdictions are passing ordinances against storage development or placing restrictions on where they can be built. Often, these actions are unfair. If we want to grow as an industry, we need do it the right way. That means not building in markets that are already saturated. We don’t want to become the Circle Ks of the world!
If you’re looking to build, you need loads of patience and a ton of fortitude. You also need to be armed with the facts so you can respond when your proposal comes under fire. Our June issue, which focuses on development and construction, will be begin circulating next week. It’s packed with so many great articles to help you navigate this crazy process.
Plus, the seminars recorded at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo are now available for pre-order in the ISS Store. You can get about 14 hours of insight in the “Self-Storage Builder/Investor Essentials 2022 Education Video Package. They address planning, building and design as well as real estate trends, finance and more. All 42 individual sessions and nine discount packages will be available in an on-demand, streaming format and delivered to customer accounts by June 24.
For the most part, few people are lining up at city hall asking for another self-storage facility in their community. Self-storage isn’t Starbucks. That doesn’t mean the service isn’t needed. Be smart about your building, provide a beautifully designed site that’s secure and lean on technology to offer the ultimate self-storage experience. Lastly, treat your customers like you are handing them a $9 cup of coffee.