Last week we began production on our annual development and design print issue. It’s one of my favorite issues of the year for several reasons. First, I like construction content. My dad was a contractor so it’s familiar territory for me. Second, I love learning about the progression of self-storage facility design. It’s simply fascinating to see how far the industry has come in just a few decades.
While development hit a pause when the pandemic began, it’s in full throttle these days. Each month, ISS shares news on dozens of new projects and property openings—all in various shapes and sizes—around the world. One thing they have in common is these aren’t the properties of yesteryear. These sites incorporate new architectural elements and materials, and eye-catching colors and patterns. Whether the goal is to stand out or blend in with their community, they’re innovative and many are simply spectacular.
While curb appeal is always important, even in the digital age, there’s so much more to a well-designed storage facility than just a pretty front entrance. Today’s modern property borrows design elements from other industries including office and retail space. Many are also incorporating healthy building solutions, eco-friendly materials and products such as solar panels.
All this demonstrates how the industry is constantly moving forward to alter its image. This is critical as so many owners and developers are still facing the “not in my backyard” crowd. Too often, there’s backlash to a development from community members and even city officials. They throw out the obvious grievances. Storage will bring crime and more traffic to the area. They have blinding lights that’ll shine into our homes. They attract pests and renters store dangerous items. A storage facility will decrease home values in the neighborhood. Of course, all these protests can be debunked.
One of the chief concerns from these naysayers is self-storage is ugly. The image they have in their mind often includes several single-story buildings sporting faded doors and surrounded by a dilapidated chainlink fence. Sadly, these places do still exist, but they no longer represent the industry.
To demonstrate this, ISS offers a visual tour of gorgeous properties in an online gallery every spring. We showcase all kinds of facilities—single- to multi-story, ground-up projects and even conversions. Some of these sites are grand, while others are just too cute. All illustrate the dynamic and creative elements that make them proud businesses in their communities. Above all, they elevate the expectation of what storage could look like. From landscaping to new materials, towers to expanses of windows, a new self-storage ideal has emerged and it’s here to stay.
Right now, we’re looking for facilities that impress for our 2021 campaign, which publishes on our website next month. We’re seeking high-resolution photos of remarkable properties, the kind that make you say, “Wow. That’s storage?” Care to share? Just shoot me an email ([email protected]) with your property pictures as well as the city, state and a caption that includes details about the site such as square footage and units, and unique architectural features. Let’s show the world how amazing self-storage really is.
Pictured: Guardian Storage in Aurora, Colo. Photo courtesy of ARCO/Murray Design-Build