Square One

July 1, 2000

2 Min Read
Square One

Square One

Teri.jpg (11629 bytes)Irecently returned from a positively awesome trip down to Supai, the Havasupai IndianReservation located just southwest of the Grand Canyon. It's an eight-mile hike down tothe village from Hualapai Hilltop, and another two miles down to the sacred Havasu Falls,an oasis of aquamarine water and limestone pools--truly one of the most extraordinaryexcursions I've ever taken.

In August of 1997, these "people of the blue-green waters" suffered flashflooding so devastating that more than 350 residents and about 300 tourists had to beferried out of the village, mostly by helicopter. Debris driven by the flood smashed sewerand water lines, damaging buildings, paths and bridges. This was the third such flood thereservation had withstood in one decade. And not only did the Havasupai face the challengeof rebuilding what was lost, they had to address the problem of what to do with thewreckage. Talk about starting from square one.

When you talk about development and site selection for self-storage, you're certainlynot talking about the resuscitation of a complete ecosystem. But you are talking aboutplanning. In today's development climate, it is more critical than ever to execute theappropriate research when selecting a facility site and design. You need to think aboutenvironmental issues, permits and zoning, topography, street access, driveways, traffic.You also need to consider studies conducted by market-research experts on the viability ofyour proposed location, as well as the sentiments of the local government towardself-storage. All of these elements tie into a facility's success.

This issue's focus on site selection and development begins on page 18 with HaroldLeslie's suggestions for "Getting Started" on a new self-storage business. Fromthere, Kenneth Carrell discusses maximizing the potential of your self-storage site andJamie Lindau highlights some common development pitfalls to avoid. Finally, Jeff Kinderoffers a unique perspective on the plausibility of development in a foreign market:Canada. While international outlets become increasingly popular among the more ambitiousand daring developers in this industry, differences in procedure, financing and governmentshould be considered before heading for the border.

The plot for self-storage success is fairly sophisticated for what the uninitiatedwould probably consider some pretty unsophisticated buildings; however, withoutresearch and planning, you're not just at square one, you're more like a square behind.The residents of Supai Village managed to restore their community, but they alsoincorporated some elements of prevention in anticipation of future disasters. Have someforesight. Be prepared. You offer your tenants a haven of sorts, too. Insure it with theproper planning and practices.

Best Wishes,

Teri L. Lanza
[email protected]

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