Acorn Mini Storage, a Minnesota-based self-storage operator, has opened A2 Art Storage & Services, a museum-grade, climate-controlled facility designed specifically to store precious art. The 35,000-square-foot property is in a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Converted from a warehouse originally constructed in 1970, the building offers private and commingled storage options, customizable warehouse space, and two meeting rooms that can be used for appraisals, viewings and other purposes, according to the source.
A2 owner and President M.E. Kirwan and her husband, Chris, who serves as president of Acorn, spent two years researching potential business opportunities that would complement Acorn before settling on the A2 concept. “There are collectors in the Twin Cities,” M.E. Kirwan told the source. “Our institutions … many of them have been storing onsite due to a lack of a facility at these specifications. So, we felt really good about our prospects here.”
Acorn paid about $2.9 million for the building in 2019, the source reported. The conversion emphasizes security and environmental controls, including a dry-pipe, pre-action sprinkler system with central monitoring that covers the entire facility. Non-corrosive fire extinguishers are kept in all storage spaces, which are individually zoned with a vapor barrier, according to the company website.
Tenants can choose to store items on their own or have A2 arrange pickup and delivery by professionally trained art-handlers. The facility uses magnetic locks with individually programmed key-fob access. All staff and contractors undergo background checks, and facility access is by appointment only, according to the website.
Since renting its first space in May, A2 has leased four private units. Though the business is designed to protect artwork, it isn’t solely intended for serious collectors. “We didn’t want this facility to be only for the objects worth tens of millions of dollars,” Kirwan told the source. “It’s really for anything you care about that you don’t have space to hang in your home.”
Acorn operates 15 self-storage facilities in the Minneapolis metropolitan market. Each location also serves as a drop site for the Diaper Bank of Minnesota, which collects and distributes disposable diapers to children in need.
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