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Articles from 2021 In January

What the Long-Term Progression of the Coronavirus Means for Self-Storage Owners and Investors


A recent essay in “The Wall Street Journal” by Dr. Nicholas Christakis, director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale Institute for Network Science, asserts that in regard to COVID-19, we are in the immediate pandemic period and will be until 2022, about which time a widely distributed vaccine will be available or we’ll have collectively achieved herd immunity (or some combination thereof). After that, while people are recovering from the clinical, psychological, social and economic shock of the crisis, we’ll be in the intermediate period. In 2024, we’ll enter the post pandemic period when things gradually return to “normal.”

I chose to begin this outlook for the year with that information because it helps us understand where we are in the self-storage industry now, and where we might be headed. Let’s examine the current state of the business and how things might unfold in 2021 and beyond.  

Initial Impact

At the onset of the pandemic, there was a delay, even a freeze, in normal self-storage operation. Most facilities experienced low activity while shelter-in-place orders were in place. As summer turned to fall, things picked up.

However, before returning to business as usual, the self-storage real estate investment trusts (REITs) posted negative same-store revenue in the second quarter, ranging from -1.1 percent to -3.1 percent. Net operating income for same-store pools ranged from -1.2 percent to -6.8 percent. The temporary pause in rent increases for existing customers in March, April and May, combined with a halt in late fees, led to these declines.

Yet something good happened, too. It was measurable for the REITs because they’re publicly traded; however, I suspect it’s also true for mom-and-pop operators. Occupancy levels rose to all-time highs, or near all-time highs. The REITs ended the quarter at 91.1 percent to 94.5 percent, driven by the suspension of lien sales combined with limitations on move-outs. Then July saw a substantial increase in move-in activity, according to brokerage and investment-banking company MJ Partners Real Estate Services. Moreover, the self-storage operators with whom I speak regularly report that occupancy levels are indeed in the low and mid-90s.

As to new facility development, it took a pause in summer, with a number of developers pulling back from new construction. With some markets bordering on oversupply, plus a deep uncertainty around the pandemic and slower than usual stabilization timelines for some projects, caution prevailed in many cases.

Trends to Expect

Fast forward to early November when this article was written, and we’re turning a corner in self-storage. To use Christakis’ verbiage, you could say we’re exiting the immediate period of the pandemic’s impact on the industry and entering the intermediate. As such, we need to start thinking about how our customers’ lives may be changing and how they might use self-storage in the near future. During this intermediate stage, which I believe will last deep into 2021 and perhaps longer, these are some of the trends we should expect:

  • Occupancy should remain close to stabilization levels for one basic reason: human nature. People are extremely resistant to giving up their stuff!
  • The current 8 percent public utilization rate of storage facilities will continue to grow, making it a compelling long-term investment, according to research and advisory firm Green Street Advisors.
  • Sadly, small-business and personal bankruptcies are happening and will likely increase as we move deeper into the COVID-19 economy. This will drive demand for storage units as people seek a place to keep their equipment and other goods.

Migration and population growth will also fuel demand for self-storage. A study by moving company Atlas Van Lines that tracked U.S. migration patterns in 2019 found more Americans moved to Idaho than any other state, while New York led the nation for outbound movement. The nine states with the greatest inbound movement following Idaho were Washington, North Carolina, New Mexico, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Arizona, Alabama, the District of Columbia and Texas. These states show promise for self-storage growth, though it’s difficult to say how the pandemic might change patterns moving forward.

Self-storage is also attracting fresh investors. In search of yield and relative safety, they’re drawn to the industry’s historically high occupancy and steady cash flows. Take StorageMart, for example. Already one of the sector’s biggest players, with more than 200 facilities in North America and the United Kingdom, the company landed financial backing in the fall from Cascade Investment LLC, a private entity led by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd. There are lots of investors looking for self-storage deals, and the inventory of for-sale properties is very thin. Good facilities in desirable locations are getting multiple offers and will continue to do so in 2021.

Financing will be available, though requirements may be more demanding. In an article written for Inside Self-Storage in late April, industry finance expert Shawn Hill of The BSC Group wrote, “The funnel of available capital is much narrower than it has been in quite some time. There are still lenders originating loans, but there are fewer of them, and the criteria for qualified deals has intensified. Lenders that remain active are overwhelmed with requests and, in general, have the luxury to cherry-pick deals right now.” In 2021, I expect we’ll continue to see selective lending that depends largely on sponsor credit, property quality, size, location, market competition and related criteria. Borrowing will be challenging but not impossible.

Advice for Owners and Investors

What does the post pandemic period look like for the self-storage industry? That remains unclear, but “This too shall pass.” The U.S. economy did a terrific bounce in the third quarter, growing at a record annualized gross domestic product rate of 33.1 percent, which followed the record second quarter plunge of 31.4 percent. Yet it has a long way to go for full recovery.

That said, self-storage owners and investors should take a lead from the REITs and upgrade their properties. Shop REIT facilities in your markets and experience firsthand some of the changes they’ve implemented. Among them, you’ll see a shift to contactless transactions, which has brought technology to the forefront of the business. If your properties aren’t technologically up to date, an investment may be worthwhile. In addition to improving the tenant experience, new tools allow managers to focus their energies on the aspects of facility operation that need it the most. For some properties, they may even eliminate the need for some personnel.

Lastly, I encourage you to get a property appraisal. If not annually, you should do this at least every other year. Going through this exercise will uncover deferred maintenance and other potential issues that could negatively impact your investment. Knowing your property value helps maintain focus on cash flow and keeps you up to speed on financing trends and competition. Getting a valuation is essential in updating your exit strategy or simply refreshing the way your properties are operated.

Denise Nunez is a senior vice president with Phoenix-based NAI Horizon and one of the firm’s top-producing brokers. An expert in self-storage real estate, Denise has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, including 10 as a real estate broker serving Arizona and numerous U.S. markets through her affiliation with NAI Global, a commercial real estate services firm. For more information, call 602.393.6784; email [email protected].

ezStorage Seeks Buyer for 48-Property Self-Storage Portfolio

ezStorage Corp., which operates 48 self-storage facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., is reportedly marketing its book of assets to a limited pool of public and private buyers. A deal for the mostly stabilized portfolio, which is approximately 92 percent occupied with an average facility age of 12 years, could top $2 billion, a source affiliated with a potential buyer told the “SpareFoot Storage Beat,” an industry blog.

ezStorage ranked No. 24 on the Inside Self-Storage 2020 Top-Operators List of facility owners, with its portfolio comprising 5.1 million net rentable square feet in 52,000 units. When the company reported its figures last summer, it indicated plans to add up to 600,000 net rentable square feet through expansion of existing facilities.

Founded in 1987, the storage operator hasn’t commented publicly about the offering. Its portfolio is allegedly being offered through Eastdil Secured LLC, a private real estate investment-banking firm.

Marc Boorstein, a partner with real estate brokerage and investment-banking company MJ Partners Real Estate Services, told the blog he’s been contacted by multiple groups evaluating a potential deal, which could trade at a low capitalization (cap) rate. “They may be seeking a valuation with as little as a 3.5 percent cap rate. That might be unrealistic, but they are going to try because the investment market for portfolios is very aggressive.”

Recent large self-storage deals that have closed with cap rates of less than 5 percent include CubeSmart’s $540 million acquisition of an eight-property New York City portfolio from Storage Deluxe, and the $1.2 billion purchase of Simply Self Storage, acquired by Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc. from Brookfield Management Inc., Boorstein said.

SpareFoot Storage Beat, Maryland-Based ezStorage Shops Portfolio for a $2B Payday

Self-Storage Development and Zoning Activity: December 2020

Update 1/29/21 – Though DealPoint Merrill received a zoning variance to convert the former Stop & Shop supermarket in Meriden, Conn., to self-storage, Mayor Scarpati has asked the council to review city zoning regulations. The zoning board of appeals (ZBA) granted the change earlier this month after the developer proved hardship resulting from the city’s existing regulations, which don’t currently accommodate self-storage. The seven facilities that already exist in the city were also granted ZBA variances, according to a source. Scarpati said he was “disappointed in the decision,” but acknowledged the city needs to revisit its guidelines. DealPoint will next submit a site plan to the planning commission. If it gets approval, it’ll invest $8 million to $13 million to build the project.

12/18/20 – The global self-storage development pipeline continues to be extremely dynamic. Inside Self-Storage regularly covers new projects being planned and approved as well as zoning and other municipal issues. Following is additional activity taking place in December 2020.

Amy’s Attic Self Storage, which operates eight facilities in Central Texas, is opening a new location in Waco in February. The property at 4700 New Road Ave. is near Cottonwood Creek Golf Course and adjacent to shopping mall Central Texas Marketplace. It’ll comprise 100,000 square feet.

Arcland Property Co., a Georgetown, Washington, DC.-based real estate development and investment company, has opened self-storage facilities in Kensington, Md., and Reston, Va. The Kensington facility at 4900 Nicholson Court contains 1,314 units. The second property, at 1808 Michael Faraday Court in Reston, contains four stories and 1,100 units. Both will be managed by Self Storage Plus, a Washington, D.C.-based company with 45 properties in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Worcester County, Md., Planning Commission unanimously approved the site plan for Buas Self Storage in West Ocean City. The development on Route 50, south of Samuel Bowen Boulevard, will comprise 106,000 square feet of self-storage in three two-story structures and a 5,000-square-foot maintenance building. Some houses and other items on the property will need to be razed.

Real estate developers Coastal Storage Group and Miller-Valentine Group are building two new facilities in Fort Myers and Ormond Beach, Fla. The three-story project in Ormond will comprise 94,868 square feet and is expected to open in fall 2021. The three-story Fort Meyers project on Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will include 99,339 square feet. Construction will begin next month and be complete in February 2022. Both will be managed by self-storage REIT CubeSmart and branded under its name.

Coro Realty and DG Real Estate Partners LLC will begin construction next month on Fairburn 85 Self Storage in Fairburn, Ga. The 2.6-acre site at 7935 Senoia Road is near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Peachtree City, the largest city in Fayette County. Plans call for a three-story building comprising 114,000 square feet in 800 units, and two smaller buildings designed for vehicle storage. Expected to be complete in late 2021, the project is Coro’s third self-storage development in the state. Founded in 1997, Coro provides investment, asset management, leasing and property management for commercial and residential properties in the Southeast United States. DG Real Estate was created in 2018 to merge Galbraith Enterprises Inc. and Dahlco Real Estate Development. Under principals Matt Dahlhauser and Stephen Galbraith, the company has nearly $100 million in projects under development.

DealPoint Merrill intends to convert a former Stop & Shop supermarket in Meriden, Conn., to self-storage, but the project faces opposition from residents and city officials. Community members would prefer another supermarket, while Mayor Kevin Scapati argued that a self-storage facility wouldn’t provide economic value to the area. DealPoint CEO David Frank wrote a letter to the local newspaper noting the company’s market studies, which indicate grocery stores are oversupplied in the area, while self-storage is undersupplied at less than 3 square feet per person. The Stop & Shop store closed last month. The submarket the storage facility would serve is comprised of up to 48 percent apartments, which means there’s population turnover, Frank said. DealPoint applied for a variance from the zoning board of appeals in October.

Easy Access Storage Ltd. received approval to develop an office and self-storage facility in Widnes, England. The project will be built on a .66-hectare site at the intersection of Carter House Way and Earle Road. It’ll include 6,000 square feet of office space spread over two floors. The site requires remediation from asbestos and elevated levels of methane and carbon dioxide left over from previous chemical use. Easy Access is working with development consultancy Walsingham Planning Ltd. on the project.

Eltec Construction and Investment filed a zoning application to build Attic Safe Self Storage in the West Little River neighborhood of Miami. Plans for the 0.62-acre property at 8901 22nd Ave. include a four-story building comprising 86,931 square feet in 643 units. The architect is Blitstein Design Associates of Coral Gables, Fla. Eltec, managed by Elrod Phillips, acquired the property in 2015 in a foreclosure auction.

In his in his quest to develop a four-story self-storage facility in Niles, Ill., developer Adam French received approval for a property-tax incentive from the Niles Finance Committee on Dec. 3. The proposed $7.4 million project for the vacant lot at 7421 N. Waukegan would also include 1,600 square feet of retail space on the first floor.

Development and real estate firm InSite Property Group, the parent company of SecureSpace Self Storage, opened a new location in Torrance, Calif. The three-story facility at 722 W. 220th St. comprises 71,000 square feet of climate-controlled space and 480 square feet of covered vehicle storage. Insite acquired the 2-acre site for $5.6 million from Wentworth Property Co. in 2019. Valley National Bank provided the $11.1 million construction loan.

InSite also acquired a 9.9-acre site in San Diego on which it intends to develop a new SecureSpace location. The facility at the intersection of Interstate 15 and State Route 56 will comprise 109,725 net rentable square feet and 115 boat/RV parking spaces. The property will include an RV wash-and-dump station. Based in Redondo Beach, Calif., InSite is an integrated developer, builder and operator of commercial real estate. It has more than 30 stores operating or under construction.

Issaquah, Wash.-based development firm JPR Construction opened Summit Heated Self Storage in the Summit community of Tacoma, Wash. The facility at 5104 104th St. E. comprises 105,349 square feet in 843 units and 79 boat/RV spaces. It was designed by Stephen Bourne of Seattle-based Site + Plan + Mix LLC. The facility will be managed by West Coast Self-Storage Group (WCSSG), a property-management, acquisition and development company headquartered in Everett, Wash. WCSSG operates 77 managed and owned locations in California, Oregon and Washington.

One Mile Self-Storage opened on a 7.17-acre parcel in East Windsor, N.J. The facility at 117 1 Mile Road comprises 76,286 square feet. The architectural design includes a barn-style building to blend with surrounding properties. The facility is owned by Jim Lombardo and Mike McCloskey.

Madison Capital Group intends to convert a former Toys ‘R’ Us store in Bradenton, Fla., into a Go Store It location. The project at 512 Cortez Road W. also includes a former tire shop that was connected to the toy store. Madison opened another conversion last year inside a former Sears at the nearby DeSoto Square Mall. Based in Charlotte, N.C., Madison specializes in the acquisition, development and management of self-storage assets throughout the county. It operates 43 Go Store It locations nationwide.

Metro Storage LLC, which owns more than 135 self-storage properties in 14 states, is seeking zoning approval to build a three-story facility in Eagan, Minn. The property on the southeast corner of Dodd Road and Minnesota State Highway 55 contains two parcels, one zoned for general business, the other for residential. The Eagan Planning Commission granted Metro approval to combine the two lots. The council was expected to review the proposal at its Dec. 15 meeting. Headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., Metro Storage operates the Metro Self Storage brand. The privately owned, fully integrated real estate company specializes in the acquisition, development and management of self-storage facilities in Brazil, Central America and the United States.

Mini-West Storage in Corsicana, Texas, has opened its expansion. The addition at 1400 N. 45th St. includes 39,950 square feet in 278 units. The facility opened in 1987 with just six buildings. It was later expanded to 750 units.

NitNeil Partners, an Atlanta-based investment firm specializing in self-storage, completed construction on a four-story facility in Austin, Texas. The property at 2009 Airport Blvd. comprises 78,580 rentable square feet in 885 units. SBS Construction served as general contractor. It’ll be managed by Life Storage. NitNeil owns 24 self-storage facilities in 11 states comprising 1.5 million net rentable square feet.

Accountants Carrie and Edgar Ooms opened Self Access Storage in Rainier, Wash. Built on 1.5 acres at 402 Myers St., the facility comprises 70 units in two buildings. The couple and an unidentified business partner intend to add 70 more units by April. This is the first self-storage facility developed by the Ooms.

Primerica Group One Inc. completed a six-building facility in Palmetto, Fla. The property at 4805 96th St. E. comprises 794 units and is anchored by a 94,200-square-foot climate-controlled building. Larger units accommodate RVs and are equipped with shore charging. The site is part of the 200-acre Woods of Moccasin Wallow mixed-use development. The facility will be managed by Life Storage. Founded in 1987, Primerica specializes commercial and multi-family development along the West Coast of Florida.

Schaap Moving & Storage opened in Worthington, Minn. The 8,000-square-foot building on Oxford Street comprises 40 units, which can be accessed year-round off Stower Drive. Schaap Moving has served the area for more than 65 years. In addition to self-storage, it offers local and long-distance moving, and professional packing.

A self-storage project for Port Chester, N.Y., by Storage Deluxe, a Manhattan-based self-storage owner and developer, is under review by the town’s planning commission and zoning board of appeals. The operator wants to demolish several existing structures at 354 N. Main St. and develop a four-story building comprising 106,240 square feet. Once complete, the facility would be managed by CubeSmart. Founded in 1998 and based in Manhattan, Storage Deluxe has 65 projects completed and in development, totaling 7 million square feet.

Real Estate developer TFE Properties opened a self-storage facility inside a converted Kmart building in East Brunswick, N.J. The property at 645 Rout 18 comprises 130,000 square feet in 1,100 units. It’s part of a larger mixed-use project that’ll include additional retail at the Junction Pointe center. The self-storage facility will be managed by CubeSmart and branded under its name. Based in East Windsor, N.J., TFE specializes in hospitality, multi-family, office, retail and self-storage projects.

Two C’s Investment LLC intends to develop Cruth Self Storage in Easton, Wash. The facility at 2451 E. Railroad St. would comprise 254 units and be built in phases. The site requires a conditional-use permit. Easton officials are accepting public comment until Jan. 4, after which a public hearing will be scheduled. Two C’s is based in Lynnwood, Wash.

Phoenix-based U-Haul International Inc., which operates more than 1,700 self-storage facilities across North America, received permission to convert a former Kmart in Jacksonville, Fla. Plans for the 95,000-square-foot building at 1501 Normandy Village Parkway will add 75,522 square feet of storage in the first phase. Phase two calls for 18,428 square feet as well as retail space. Scherer Construction of North Florida LLC is the builder. U-Haul Florida LLC purchased the 8.7-acre property in 2018 for $3.7 million.

U-Haul also plans to expand one of its moving and rental centers in Seattle to include self-storage. The five-story structure at 1119 N.W. Leary Way in the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing and Industrial Center would comprise 117,000 square feet in 905 units. The ground floor would include 53 parking spaces and loading bays as well as a retail and office area. The company has owned the half-acre property since 1986. Established in 1945, U-Haul operates more than 68 million square feet of storage space in North America.

Vinson Realty and VIP Management Inc. received zoning approval from the Coconino County Planning and Zoning Commission to develop a facility dedicated to vehicle storage in Bellemont, Ariz. The project for the 4.82-acre property will include 232 spaces in five covered storage areas, two of which will be enclosed garages, and a small office with two parking spaces. Based in Tempe, Ariz., Vinson specializes in real estate and home rentals.

12/2/20 – The global self-storage development pipeline continues to be extremely dynamic. Inside Self-Storage regularly covers new projects being planned and approved as well as zoning and other municipal issues. Following is activity taking place in December 2020.

Always Sunny Storage opened in Waterville, Maine. The facility at 69 Chaffee Brook Road offers container-storage units as well outdoor vehicle storage. A second phase is expected to open in the spring.

Local entrepreneurs Claire and Jamie Bradfield and Josh and Katie McGinty opened The Boathouse, a boat/RV self-storage facility, in LaGrange, Ga. Built on 17 acres at 1201 New Franklin Road, the property comprises 30 enclosed units and nine covered spots, all with access to power. In total, the spaces comprise more than 400 square feet. The site has room for 30 more units.

The Parma Heights, Ohio, City Council voted against a self-storage project proposed by DealPoint Merrill LLC, which wanted to build a 62,000-square-foot facility at 7011 W. 130th St. The developer submitted its application in May 2019; but in February 2020, the city enacted a six-month moratorium on new development within its planned-unit development area, which included the targeted 12.53-acre site. The planning commission voted against recommending the project in July. The city is currently updating its master plan, and officials are hopeful the site will attract a business that’ll bring in more jobs and revenue. In addition to self-storage, DealPoint owns and operates shopping centers, malls and multi-family dwellings.

York, England, officials don’t appear to be favorable toward converting most of Wigginton Road Car Park to self-storage. York-based Inner Space Stations Self Storage proposed adding 31 storage containers to the site, while preserving seven of the 28 existing parking spaces. Officials have criticized the plan as inappropriate for the area, which is near residences. Inner Space operates three locations in the city.

J2 Development LLC is demolishing a building on land it owns in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and building a self-storage facility in its place. Plans for the 0.87-acre site at 112 Hollywood Blvd. include 400 units. Expected to be complete within a year, the facility will be managed by Move It Storage and branded under its name.

Life Storage Inc., a publicly traded self-storage real estate investment trust (REIT) and third-party management firm, intends to build a three-story facility next to an existing location in Buffalo, N.Y. The new project would be east of the facility at 400 Kenmore Ave., in what was the parking lot of the former Budwey’s grocery store, which the REIT converted five years ago. The proposed addition to the 4.55-acre site would have a footprint of 28,000 square feet and be 38 feet tall. The planning board was expected to review the project on Monday. Based in Buffalo, Life Storage operates more than 900 self-storage facilities in 30 states and Ontario, Canada. Its portfolio of owned and managed facilities comprises more than 65.8 million square feet.

A mixed-use development proposed by Procaccianti Cos., under the name OGN LLC, was denied by officials in Providence, R.I. The proposal for the 3.8-acre lot at the corner of Dean Street and Kinsley Avenue would’ve included a five-story self-storage facility containing 850 units, an eight-pump gas station, and a convenience store with a delicatessen and drive-thru. The city plan commission said the project didn’t coincide with its designs to make the area more inviting to pedestrians and suitable for outdoor enjoyment. Based in Cranston, R.I., Procaccianti is a privately held real estate investment and management company.

SafeStorage opened locations in Chennai and Pune, India. The two facilities comprise a total of 10,000 square meters. Based in Bangalore, India, SafeStorage operates in four cities, with plans to expand to nine municipalities by the end of next year.

Shurgard Self Storage Europe SARL, the European affiliate of U.S.-based real estate investment trust Public Storage Inc., intends to build a new facility in Morangis, a suburb of Paris. Expected to open in late 2021, the building will comprise 64,583 square feet in 850 units. Shurgard operates 242 self-storage facilities comprising 1.2 million net rentable square meters in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Shurgard also opened a new location in the Oberschöneweide area of Berlin. The multi-story structure comprises about 1,000 units. The site is Shurgard's fourth in Berlin, with another under development.

Star Slidell LLC is converting a former Dillard’s department store in Slidell, La., to self-storage. The 40,000-square-foot space was an anchor to the North Shore Square mall at 150 Northshore Blvd. The city council recently approved a conditional-use permit for the project. The indoor mall opened in 1985, but Canada-based owner Morguard Corp. closed the interior last year. It has three retail spaces that are still active. Dillard’s owned two retail spaces at the site, selling one to Star Slidell in September for $1.1 million.

The Storage Fox, which operates four New York facilities, is seeking zoning approval to build a mixed-use property in the Eastchester community of The Bronx, N.Y. Plans for the site at 3556 Peartree Ave. include 98,000 square feet of self-storage and a 46,000-square-foot banquet hall. It’ll be designed by Designed by T.F. Cusanelli & Filletti Architects. The property currently houses a single-story auto storage and an attached salvage yard. If approved, the project would be completed next year in a single phase. The Storage Fox was acquired by valet-storage operator Clutter last year.

The Danville, Calif., Planning Commission is considering a proposal for a two-story self-storage facility that would replace a former assisted-living building. Plans for the 0.96-acre site at 344 Diablo Road include 17,000 square feet of storage as well as a residence. The 13,760-square-foot building, which has been vacant for five years, will be demolished.

New Sources:
Arizona Daily Sun, North Bellemont RV and Boat Storage Yard Approved, Redeveloper Opens New CubeSmart Self-Storage Facility at Former East Brunswick Kmart
Corsicana Daily Sun, Business News: Mini-West Storage Expansion to Open This Month
CP Executive, InSite Property Group Debuts Los Angeles Storage Facility
Daily Journal of Commerce, U-Haul Plans New Ballard Storage Facility
Daily Record, Notice of Application
Herald Tribune, Bradenton Toys 'R' Us Being Converted to Self-Storage
In Your Area, Derelict Land in Widnes to Be Redeveloped as Office and Self-Storage
Jax Daily Record, Westside Kmart Becoming U-Haul Moving & Storage
Journal and Topics, Waukegan Road Self Storage Development Proposal Back With 7B Tax Request
My Ballard, U-Haul Plans to Turn Ballard Property Into 5-Story Self-Storage Facility
My Record Journal, Company CEO Defends Plan for Self Storage at Former Meriden Supermarket
Nisqually Valley News, Self Access Storage Is Rainier’s Newest Business
Patch, Mayor Mironov Inaugurates New Storage Facility In East Windsor
Patch, Summit Heated Self Storage Opens in Tacoma, Washington
PR Newswire, Amy's Attic Self Storage to Open New Location in Waco, TX
PR Newswire, SecureSpace Self Storage Announces the Grand Opening of a New Self Storage Facility in Torrance, California
REBusiness Online, Arcland Property Opens Two Self-Storage Facilities in Metro D.C.
South Florida Business Journal, Crane Watch
Sun This Week, Long Vacant Property Could Become Storage Facility in Eagan
The Dispatch, Storage Facility Site Plan Approved
The Globe, New Storage Facility Now Open in Worthington
Westchester & Fairfield County Business Journals, Leading Self-Storage Developer Pitches CubeSmart Project in Port Chester
My Record Journal, Self-Storage Plan Prompts Mayor to Request Review of Meriden Zoning

Previous Sources:
PR Web, Always Sunny Storage of Waterville, Maine Disrupts Conventional Storage Market
Danville San Ramon, Two-Story Self-Storage Facility Proposed Near Downtown Danville
Eco-Ri News, Providence Officials Reject Gas Station and Self-Storage Project
NWF Daily News, Planned Storage Facility to Replace Project Hope Center in Fort Walton Beach
New York Yimby, T.F. Cusanelli & Filletti Architects Design Banquet Hall And Self-Storage Facility In Eastchester, The Bronx
PR Newswire, Now Open: U-Haul of North Nashua Has Self-Storage Rooms for Rent
Buffalo Rising, Three-Story Self-Storage Facility Proposed for Kenmore Avenue, Parma Heights Council Nixes Storage Unit Facility on West 130th Street, Mini-Storage to Open in Moribund Slidell Mall Anchor Spot
The Hindu BusinessLine, Storage Firm SafeStorage Comes to Chennai, Pune
The LaGrange Daily News, The Boathouse Facility Opens, Specializing in Boat and RV Storage
The Press, Wigginton Road Car Park May Be Turned Into Self-Storage Unit Site

Self-Storage Development and Zoning Activity: January 2021

Update 1/29/21 – The global self-storage development pipeline continues to be extremely dynamic. Inside Self-Storage regularly covers new projects being planned and approved as well as zoning and other municipal issues. Following is additional activity taking place in January 2021.

All Inn Storage opened in East Alton, Ill. The facility at 978 E. Airline Drive includes two buildings containing 58 units, plus outdoor vehicle storage. It’s owned by a family in Bethalto, Ill.

Attic Plus Storage intends to convert the Five Points East shopping center in Irondale, Ala. The property at 1630 Crestwood Blvd. comprises about 17,000 square feet. The company acquired the site through Attic Plus Storage IV LLP for $1.45 million. The seller was 5 Points Partners LLC. Attic Plus operates 10 self-storage facilities in the Birmingham, Ala., metro area.

Bulldog Self Storage opened in Stanwood, Wash. The facility at 7000 265th St. N.W. is on the first floor of Cambridge Place, a 45-unit apartment building. It comprises 8,246 square feet in 95 units. Owned by Grandview’s Bulldog Storage LLC, it was designed by architect Glenn C. Wells, and developed and built by Grandview North LLC. It’ll be managed by West Coast Self-Storage Group, an acquisition, development and property-management company headquartered in Everett, Wash.

Jim Cherney, CEO of Cherney Development, is converting a former Kmart in Danville, Va., into a mixed-use site that’ll feature self-storage and retail. Plans for Fort Knox Drive-Thru Self-Storage at 3311 Riverside Drive include 550 indoor units and 14 vehicle-storage spaces. Cherney purchased the 92,900-square-foot store from The Daniel Group. Construction will begin this spring and be complete by the end of the year. Cherney has developed 14 self-storage facilities in North Carolina and Virginia.

Real estate private-equity firm DXD Capital intends to develop a multi-story facility in Las Vegas. The 1.7-acre property on W. Sahara Boulevard, in the Lakes neighborhood, will offer 1,000 units. The project, which will be managed by self-storage REIT Public Storage Inc., is expected to break ground in late winter and be complete in the first quarter of next year. Founded last September, DXD acquired the property through its DXD Self Storage Fund I, which is raising $50 million to use for ground-up development.

Developer EDC opened Storage Sense in Charlottesville, Va. The five-story facility at 865 Pantops Corner Way comprises 83,000 square feet in 567 units. Designed by Kyle Redinger, founder of LandStriker Development, it’ll be managed by Storage Asset Management. Founded in 1990, EDC specializes in the development of retail, self-storage, mixed-use, higher-education, senior-living and multi-family properties.

Compass Self Storage, a member of the Amsdell family of companies, has purchased an Orlando, Fla., facility under development by Flagship Companies Group. The 3.06-acre property is at the intersection of Chickasaw Avenue and Florida State Road 408. Expected to be complete in December, the project will include a three-story, climate-controlled building and three single-story drive-up buildings comprising a total of 81,858 net rentable square feet. Headquartered in Cleveland, Compass operates nearly 100 facilities in 14 states.

G&T Properties is seeking zoning approval to build a six-building self-storage facility in Minoa, N.Y. The vacant parcel on Manlius Center Road is adjacent to Minoa Fire Station No. 2. The structure on the frontage, offering climate-controlled units, will hide the five drive-up buildings behind it, according to Matt Napierala, an engineer with Napierala Consulting Professional Engineer PC, which is representing G&T Properties in the request. The town board will hold a public hearing on Feb. 10.

Guardian Storage, which operates 30 self-storage facilities in Colorado and Pennsylvania, opened a new facility in Canonsburg, Pa. The three-story building at 2670 Washington Road comprises 116,000 square feet. It was designed and built by ARCO/Murray Design Build. Chase Killingsworth was the project manager and Andy Schwartz was the project superintendent.

The Bridgton, Maine, Planning Board is considering two self-storage developments. Keith Harnum has proposed a two-phase, mixed-use project for the 24-acre lot at the intersection of Knights Hill Road and North High Street. The first phase will build four storage buildings comprising 30,800 square feet, plus some outdoor vehicle storage, on 5 acres. The second will add a 10-unit residential condominium project on the remaining acreage. The city is also considering a proposal by Mark Lopez, owner of Lopez’s Bridgton Storage and Consignment. Mountain Road Storage would be built on 19.7 acres near Mountain Road and North High Street. Plans call for four buildings totaling 11,600 feet, plus 80 outdoor vehicle-storage spaces. The facility will be operated from Lopez’s existing business at 293 Portland Road.

Larkspur Properties LP, an investment firm specializing in distressed commercial and residential properties, intends to convert a former Carolina Pottery retail space in Kingsport, Tenn., to climate-controlled storage. The site is part of the 23-acre Factory Stores of America Outlet Center, which Larkspur acquired last October for $1.1 million from Fresno, Calif.-based DPI Group. The center houses a vacuum store and gym, along with several empty retail spaces. The pottery store closed several years ago. The project calls for façade improvements and new landscaping. The conversion requires rezoning the property from tourist accommodation/commerce to a highway-oriented business. The board of alderman recently approved a first reading of the rezoning. If approved, renovations to the site are expected to begin this summer, with the self-storage facility slated to open by year-end. Based in Miami, Fla., Larkspur owns real estate assets in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

A facility managed by REIT Life Storage opened in Thomasville, N.C. The single-story building at 1450 E. Sunrise Ave. offers 490 climate-controlled units.

Lockaway Storage, which operates more than 30 facilities in Texas, is converting a former grocery store in San Antonio. The property at 1802 W. Commerce St. onced housed Centeno supermarket, which opened in 1948. Designed by Dallenbach-Cole Architecture, the facility will offer climate-controlled and drive-up storage, flex office space, and outdoor vehicle storage.

Overton Moore Properties (OMP) entered the self-storage sector with the opening of its first facility at 6680 Clark Ave. in Newark, Calif. The site comprises 142,618 rentable square feet in 1,630 units. It’ll be managed by self-storage REIT Extra Space Storage Inc. OMP acquired and developed the parcel through a joint venture with Invesco Real Estate, the global real estate investment-management arm of Invesco Ltd. It intends to expand its self-storage portfolio in California. In its 42 years, the Los Angeles-based company has acquired and developed more than 38 million square feet of industrial, mixed-use and office space. It manages about 10 million square feet of commercial space in California.

John Pappas opened Store-It of Swanzey in West Swanzey, N.H. The facility at 787 W. Swanzey Road comprises 15,000 square feet in 111 units. It was built on the grounds of Pappas’ business, Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service, which was destroyed by a fire in 2018. Pappas later launched Keene Auctions and Store-It of Keene inside a two-story building at 96 Dunbar St. in Keene, Ohio. He also received approval to convert 4,900 square feet of the Keen building’s first floor to storage.

Public Storage opened a location in West Houston. The three-story facility at 2055 Hayes Road comprises 125,000 square feet in 1,101 units. The REIT demolished an existing storage structure to make way for the new construction. Triad Construction Inc. served as general contractor. Based in Glendale, Calif., Public Storage has interests in 2,504 self-storage facilities in 38 states, with approximately 171 million net rentable square feet.

Safeguard Self Storage, which operates 78 facilities throughout the eastern states, opened a new location in Lansdowne, Pa. The facility at 41 S. Union Ave. comprises 73,700 rentable square feet in 846 units. It’s the company’s eighth site in the Philadelphia metro area. Safeguard has 10 additional developments in its pipeline, including four in Florida and six in New York.

SAFStor Inc., a self-storage developer and owner, opened a new location in Alexandria, Va. The six-story building at 5765 General Washington Drive offers 884 climate-controlled units. It’ll be managed by REIT Life Storage and branded under its name. SAFStor has more than 3.3 million square feet under construction or in operation.

The Naperville, Ill., Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the city council approve city-code changes that would allow commercial real estate developer Shorewood Development Group to add The Lock Up Self Storage to the Market Meadows Shopping Center. The facility would be tucked behind retail shops in what’s now a courtyard. It’s part of a $50 million modernization project Shoreline has proposed for the 40-year-old retail property at 1201 S. Naper Blvd., which it’s under contract to purchase. Enhancements would include improved traffic flow and additional parking. A group of 50 residents submitted letters raising concerns about potential impact from noise, traffic, garbage, light pollution and safety. The storage facility would have limited hours and prohibit trucks longer than 26 feet on the property. The city council is expected to review the project on Feb. 16. The Lock Up operates more than 45 facilities across eight states. Its portfolio comprises more than 2.7 million net rentable square feet.

Scott Spadafore, owner of Red Rock Mini Storage, intends to expand his location in Putnam Township, Mich. He recently presented preliminary sketches to the planning commission of his strategy to add a building to the front of the site at 1017 W. Main St. and expand outdoor vehicle storage at the back of the property. Outdoor storage is a permitted use for the site as long it’s behind a storage building with ample screening. Spadafore said he wanted to gauge initial reaction from planners before making a formal presentation.

SSG Development completed construction on a new facility in Needham, Mass. The property at 540 Hillside Ave. comprises 123,000 square feet in 986 units. It’ll be acquired and managed by Westport Properties Inc. (WPI), which operates more than 130 self-storage facilities under the US Storage Centers brand. Based in Boston, SSG is a fully integrated real estate investment and development firm that specializes in mixed-use and self-storage projects, having developed more than 2 million square feet of the latter. Founded in 1985, WPI is a fully integrated self-storage operator that acquires, develops and manages its own portfolio in addition to providing third-party management services.

StoreEase, which operates 15 facilities, opened a new location in Evans, Ga. The facility at 1106 Furys Ferry Road uses the company’s virtual-management platform. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., StoreEase acquires, develops and oversees facilities in Alabama and Ohio.

Real estate developer Taction Properties opened a five-story facility in Providence, R.I. The location at 345 Harris Ave. comprises 54,137 square feet in 499 units and 70 vehicle spaces. It’ll be managed by REIT Life Storage Inc. The facility was designed by Robinson Green Beretta Corp. Tavares LLC served as general contractor. Based in Providence, Taction specializes in industrial, office, residential and self-storage properties.

TFJ South Plainfield I LLC is seeking a zoning variance to build a four-story self-storage facility in South Plainfield, N.J. The proposal for the property on Park Avenue calls for 110,320 square feet in 921 units. The company also plans site improvements for the vacant lot, including newly positioned guardrails and new outdoor signage. The zoning board was expected to review the project on Jan. 19.

U-Haul will convert a former metal scrapyard in Scottsdale, Ariz., into a truck-rental and self-storage center. The facility at 7300 E. Adobe Drive will offer climate-controlled units in addition to truck and trailer rentals, portable storage, hitch installation, and other services. U-Haul acquired the property on Nov. 25.

1/14/21 – The global self-storage development pipeline continues to be extremely dynamic. Inside Self-Storage regularly covers new projects being planned and approved as well as zoning and other municipal issues. Following is activity taking place in January 2021.

All Storage, which operates more than 50 facilities in Oklahoma and Texas, opened new locations in Fort Worth and Prosper, Texas. The Fort Worth facility at 9760 Blue Mound Road comprises 211,955 square feet in two four-story buildings. The four-story Prosper facility at 920 W. Frontier Parkway comprises 133,575 square feet. It’s near the Frontier Estates and Light Farms neighborhoods.

All Storage also received approval for additional developments in Fort Worth and Plano, Texas. The Fort Worth project on Summer Creek Drive will comprise 230,000 square feet and offer covered RV spaces. The two-story Plano development at Charles Street and Plano Parkway will comprise 180,000 square feet. Both are expected to be complete by summer 2022.

Big Tex Self Storage, which operates four facilities in Houston, is building a seven-story facility on the site of a former church. The structure at 730 E. 11th St., which once housed Resurrection Life Fellowship, was demolished last month. The church relocated several years ago due to disrepair of the structure, according to Big Tex owner Bobby Grover. Construction will begin in March and is expected to be complete within a year. Founded in 2005, Big Tex is a privately held partnership with a portfolio of more than 400,000 square feet of storage space.

The Lower Towamensing Township, Pa., Zoning Hearing Board approved a use variance that’ll allow owner James Zaspel to expand the 8,000-square-foot Blue Mountain Storage and Rentals, which he recently acquired. Zaspel intends to add two buildings comprising 10,000 square feet as well as perimeter fencing and an electronic access gate. Scheduled to begin this spring, the project still requires plan approval and building permits from the township as well as permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to widen the driveway. Zaspel also plans to change the business name to Blue Mountain Self Storage.

Canyon Properties Inc. intends to build a condominium self-storage facility in Wichita, Kan. The region’s Metropolitan Area Planning Commission approved an amendment to the community unity plan that’ll allow the project to move forward. Self-storage is a conditional use for the six parcels along Greenwich Road that comprise the 7-acre building site. The approved change will also allow an increase in maximum building coverage and gross floor area to around 16,000 square feet per parcel.

The Huntsville, Texas, City Council approved a conditional-use permit, clearing the way for Crabbs Prairie Storage. The facility in the 1300 block of Highway 75 N. will comprise 94,000 square feet in seven single-story buildings and five other structures ranging from 4,500 to 5,500 square feet.

Ron Gagliano is developing Agave Storage in Mesquite, Nev. The 2.4-acre parcel on Agave Road will contain two retail spaces measuring 2,700 square feet and 1,200 square feet, and nine 900-square-foot garages intended for customers seeking a “man cave,” Gagliano said. It’ll also include 33 outdoor vehicle-storage spaces, power in each unit, and a wash station and dump area for RVs. The facility is expected to open in spring.

Development and real estate firm InSite Property Group, the parent company of SecureSpace Self Storage, received approval from the planning commission to move forward on a vacant lot bordering the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, Calif. The three-story facility proposed for the triangular parcel just north of Interstate 405 Freeway will comprise 152,745 square feet. The site will also contain a 2,153-square-foot carwash and vehicle storage. Based in Redondo Beach, Calif., InSite is an integrated developer, builder and operator of commercial real estate. It has more than 30 stores operating or under construction.

InSite also intends to build Rancho Penasquitos RV/Mini Storage on a 9.9-acre site in San Diego. The newly permitted project will comprise 109,700 net rentable square feet in 1,370 units and 115 boat/RV spaces. InSite recently acquired the property from Pardee Homes.

Iron Gate Storage, which operates eight facilities in Portland and Vancouver, Wash., has opened a conversion project in Washougal, Wash. The 5-acre property at 321 C St. formerly housed Boise Cascade, a supplier of building materials. Iron Gate purchased the site in 2017 and transformed three of its buildings into traditional self-storage and vehicle storage. A fourth building was demolished, and a new structure was constructed in its place. Founded in 1988, Iron Gate is co-owned by Glen Aronson and Kim Vine.

The Lawrenceville, Ga., City Council has denied a request from Lawrenceville Hand Properties LLC to allow outdoor vehicle storage at its facility at 420 Grayson Highway. The operator sought to bypass requirements for covered storage and security fencing, suggesting a landscaping buffer as an alternative. The council insisted outdoor storage shouldn’t be seen from the right-of-way.

U.K. self-storage operator Lok'nStore Group PLC received approval to build a five-story facility in Bournemouth, England. The council rejected the application in 2018 due to concerns about the size of the building proposed for Castle Lane East. Though the revised plans garnered an objection from councilperson Lawrence Williams, the project received approval. Founded in 1995, Lok’nStore builds, buys or leases large warehouses or industrial buildings and rents storage units to customers on a weekly basis. It operates 36 self-storage facilities in Southern England.

MySpace Self Storage resumed demolition of a former Crank’s Banquet Center & Lounge site in Warren, Mich. The company acquired the property at 27900 Hoover Road in October 2018, under the name Hoover Road Storage Center LLC, and received site-plan approval last year; but title issues and a problem with a parking easement initially caused delays. The coronavirus pandemic hit shortly after the company began demolishing the structure, causing further postponements. The company originally planned a mixed-use project that was to include a coffee shop. It has tentatively planned for construction to begin in April, with completion expected by March 2022. MySpace operates four facilities in Michigan.

Printworks Mill Storage opened in Greensboro, N.C., in a converted denim mill. The multi-level facility at 1702 Fairview St. formerly housed Printworks Mill. It comprises 53,000 square feet in 545 units. It’ll be managed by Storage Asset Management, a property-management and consulting firm

Quintet Capital Group LLC is constructing a mixed-use facility in Arcola, Texas, that’s expected to open in the fourth quarter. Nearly 5 acres of the 10.8-acre site off Texas State Highway 6 will house a 100,000-square-foot building containing 800 units. The second phase planned for the remaining acreage calls for the development of restaurants and office spaces.

Shurgard Self Storage Europe SARL, the European affiliate of U.S.-based real estate investment trust Public Storage Inc., intends to build a new facility in Bow, London. Expected to open in late 2021, the building will comprise 85,000 square feet in 1,500 units. Shurgard operates 244 self-storage facilities comprising 1.2 million net rentable square meters in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.     

Shurgard also received a building permit for a new location in Düsseldorf, Germany. Expected to open in late 2021, the building will comprise 4,500 square meters in 650 units.

Shurgard also opened a new location in the Barking area of London on Jan. 9. The newly constructed, seven-story facility comprises 74,000 square feet in more than 1,100 units.

Storage Authority LLC, which operates owned facilities and franchises in Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey and Texas, added three new franchise developments to its pipeline. The ground-up projects are in Florida, Georgia and New Jersey. One of the franchisees already owns its parcel and is pursuing a zoning change. Another made its first land offer. Co-founded by Marc Goodin and Scott House, Storage Authority launched its business model in 2015. The company also offers consulting services and facility-manager training.

TAC New Rochelle LLC, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Montar Group, received approval to move forward with a project in New Rochelle, N.Y. The company purchased the property at 54 Nard Placeozzi last year for $7 million. It plans to demolish an existing structure and construct a four-story building comprising 129,000 square feet and a two-story building of 12,000 square feet.

Phoenix-based U-Haul International Inc., which operates more than 1,700 self-storage facilities across North America, intends to convert a former Kmart in La Crosse, Wis. The retail space at 2415 State Road closed in September 2017. It was acquired by E&S La Crosse LLC in December 2018 and remains vacant. Kmart is leasing the property as it goes through the approval with the city. Established in 1945, U-Haul operates more than 68 million square feet of storage space in North America.

New Sources:
Advantage News, Bethalto Family Opens New Storage Facility
Birmingham Business Journal, Attic Plus Storage Entity Buys Shopping Center in Irondale
Bridgton News, Bridgton Planners Hear Two Storage Facility Proposals
CBS 19, New Storage Facility Near Charlottesville
Chicago Tribune, Naperville Planning Commission Supports Market Meadows Changes, Including New Self-Storage Facility
Daily Herald, Naperville Council to Consider Self-Storage Facility as Part of Market Meadows Redevelopment
Danville Register and Bee, Former Kmart building in Danville to Morph Into Self-Storage Facility
Eagle News, Storage Facility Proposed on Manlius Center Road
My Central Jersey, Self-Storage Facility Proposed in South Plainfield, Safeguard Self Storage Announces Further Expansion in the Philadelphia Market
PR Newswire, Opening of OMP’S First Self-Storage Development
PR Newswire, U-Haul Reveals Plans for New Retail, Storage in North Scottsdale
RE Business Online, Public Storage Opens 1,101-Unit Self-Storage Facility in West Houston
Sentinel Source, Storage Facility Set to Open at Former Knotty Pine Antiques Site in West Swanzey
Times News, Theater Closing, Self-Storage Opening at Iconic Kingsport Shopping Center
WHMI, Red Rock Mini Storage Looks to Expand In Putnam Township

Previous Sources:
The Progress, New Deluxe Storage Facility Coming To Mesquite
The Leader News, 11th Street Church Demolished for Storage Facility
The Columbian, Vancouver-Based Storage Chain Expands Into Washougal
AJC, Lawrenceville Says No to Outdoor Storage at Self-Storage Facility
Daily Echo, Self-Storage Warehouse Will Be Built in Castle Lane Near Tesco
Fort Bend Independent, Groundbreaking Ceremony for Self-Storage Facility in Arcola
Press-Telegram, Long Beach OKs Plans for Self-Storage Facility Near LA River, Despite Community Pushback
PR Newswire, StorCo Self Storage Converts Large Retail Superstore into a Smart Storage Facility with Nokē Smart Locks
News U.S., New Rochelle IDA Approves the Construction of Self Storage
La Crosse Tribune, Former Kmart May Become a U-Haul Facility
Macomb Daily, Former Warren Crank’s Location Set to Be Turned Into Storage Facility
The Item, Huntsville City Council OKs Crabbs Prairie Storage Facility, Lower Towamensing Storage Center Expanding
Wichita Business Journal, Records: Self-Storage Facility Headed to Empty Central, Greenwich Property

Dressing Your Site for Success: A Complete Guide to Self-Storage Curb Appeal


In self-storage, curb appeal sets the tone for the entire property. A facility that’s clean, well-kept and appealing is an invitation to potential tenants, while an unkempt site is a turn-off and can drive customers to competitors.

Curb appeal decides the first impression someone has about your facility and the people who work there. That impression is often made within 10 seconds! When people visit your site, what do they see? It’s really no different than when Mom told you to wash your hands, put on clean clothes, comb your hair and look people in the eye. Making a good first impression is as important for a business as it is for individuals.

Most people make assumptions about the house in the neighborhood that’s nicer than others or the business with beautiful storefront windows that stands out on Main Street. The same is true about restaurants with attractive outdoor dining and the aroma of great food. In each case, they’re maintained with consistently high standards. So, how can self-storage operators create a similar allure?

Be Observant and Detail-Oriented

Once a customer is on your self-storage property, it’s important to establish and reinforce his positive first impression by keeping the buildings and all the grounds in tip-top shape. If your facility is clean and well-maintained, it gives the impression that building contents will also be well-cared-for. A customer’s first impression brings him in the door, but the rest of the property will entice him to sign a lease.

When it comes to maximizing curb appeal, details matter. Walk the front of your property and try to see what the public sees. What angles and sight lines are visible from the road? What can you improve? You want to fix anything that speaks of neglect and might make a bad impression on the community and your customers. For example, pay attention to:

  • Make sure your roof is clean and free of leaves, tree limbs and other debris.
  • Check your buildings and fence line for weeds, trash and graffiti.
  • Make sure the gate, which is seen regularly by every tenant, is painted and free of rust.
  • Look for other flaws like broken lights, faded paint, overgrown bushes, dirty windows, broken pavement, etc.

Refresh Signs and Banners

Street signage is a common culprit when making a poor curbside impression, particularly if it’s faded, dirty or peeling, or needs repair. Secondary signage, such as self-storage building and door numbers, gate and parking-lot signs, speed-limit signs, and office signs, should also be clean and well-maintained.

If banners are allowed, position them so they can be seen easily, and keep them fresh. Post them for just a couple of weeks, then advertise something different. Banners or signs posted for extended periods lose their impact and tend to go unnoticed. While consistently using your logo and branding colors creates uniformity, pushing different messages creates interest to highlight the features and benefits of your facility.

Invest in Landscaping

Well-maintained landscaping can make a huge positive impact. Proper shrubs and flowers can create interest and please to the eye. Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map to help determine which plants, grass and flowers will work best for your property. A garden book specific to your zone can provide great ideas for improving site appeal.

Plantings don’t need to be expensive or fancy. When planting flowers, use perennials instead of annuals to create focal points. A variety of flowers that bloom at different times of the year will create interest and draw attention throughout the year. Flowering shrubs or trees can also add color without adding daily maintenance. Periodic pruning will keep plants under control.

In desert and dry climates, xeriscaping can be used to create visual interest and reduce the need for irrigation. Cactus, sedum, pots, gravel and decorative stones should be neat and weed-free. Add further interest with large rocks, flags or decorative sculptures to create a location people can’t help but notice.

Don’t forget about your facility’s nighttime appearance. LED and solar lighting can add interest to planting beds along the roadway. Typically, decorative lighting can be added without much expense. While driveway and building lights are typically part of site security, landscape lighting can be an impactful part of curb appeal.

The Management Office

Curb appeal extends from the street to your management office. A neat and tidy lobby will reinforce the impression created by your well-maintained grounds. What does yours say about the business? What do the storefront window or retail displays look like? Make sure windows are clean and your moving-box display is inviting and orderly. Consider rearranging your packing and moving supplies to keep the area fresh and interesting.

Of course, office appeal is about more than interior design. Cleanliness is king. The office should be free from dusts, spiderwebs and dead bugs in the corners. Declutter so there aren’t piles of papers on the desk and sticky notes on the walls. Aromas also make an impression, so make sure the office has a pleasant smell (but nothing overwhelming).

More Curb-Appeal Tips

There are many aspects to outstanding curb appeal, and I’ve covered some of the more prominent ones above. Here are a few more tips to help your maximize facility allure:

Know your limitations. This includes your local zoning regulations. Your municipality may have requirements for lighting, signage, colors and landscaping. Knowing these specifications will help you steer clear of trouble with local authorities when improving your property.

Be colorful. Being mindful of those local requirements, consider the use of color to improve your curb appeal. It can be great way to draw attention to your property; just be careful with your choices! Primary colors (red, yellow and blue) pair well with secondary colors (orange, green and purple). Complementary colors can be used to create eye-catching focal areas. For example, if your signage is red and white, consider planting yellow and blue flowers beneath. If your colors are cool tones in blue and green, consider adding a pop of warm tones, such as red, orange or yellow. This will create a nice contrast.

Appeal to women. In many families, women are the decision-makers when it comes to choosing a self-storage facility. Keep this mind when designing and improving your property and ask yourself, “Would a woman feel comfortable renting here?”

Spark the community. As you improve your self-storage facility, it may encourage nearby properties to better their curb appeal, too. You can start a revitalization! Work with your neighbors to improve the look and feel of your community.

Keep it going. Curb appeal isn’t something you create at the outset of a new or renovated facility and then put on cruise control. It takes continued effort. Burned-out lightbulbs, trash on the ground, torn flags and faded banners tell people you don’t care about your property. To customers, it implies you also don’t care about their belongings.

Passersby should see a property that’s appealing and inviting. All this takes planning and ongoing determination. Show the community every day that your property is the best option available when the need for self-storage arises.

Reaping the Rewards

If neighboring properties are cleaner than yours, the first impression you make won’t be favorable. If adjacent properties are less attractive than your self-storage facility, then you have the opportunity to stand out. When customers see you have a high standard, they’re more likely to remember you when they need storage.

Curb appeal includes so much more than your self-storage roadway frontage or main entrance. It comprises your hallways, fence line, night lighting and office. It’s about presenting a consistently appealing environment for customers. Putting in the effort to continually make a good first impression will be rewarded with new move-ins and happy tenants.

Donna Edwards started in the self-storage industry in 2013. Her performance as a site manager led to an expansion of her responsibilities to include roles as a traveling trainer, site auditor and inspector for new acquisitions across the Southeast. She regularly creates content on manager training and improvement. She’s currently an office manager and freelancer helping small business owners manage and market their businesses. To reach her, e-mail [email protected].

ISS Blog

Get Your Self-Storage Customers to Sing Your Praises With Testimonials


Last weekend I decided it was time to buy a new vacuum cleaner. Exciting purchase, right? But it was an essential one, so I began with an online search. I landed on a model that I liked and looked for the best price. I found it on the Kohl’s website on sale and with free shipping. Yay! The only problem was I couldn’t get a visual of the product on display at the store and there weren’t any reviews on the retailer’s website.

So, I hopped over to Amazon and found what I needed. There were plenty of evaluations on my target purchase, plus pictures! Most were positive, though, a few customers had issues. Overall, the assessments gave me confidence I was making the right decision.

Many of us find ourselves making more purchases online these days. It’s a hallmark of the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it’s groceries, clothing, entertainment or even a vacuum cleaner, we’re turning to the Internet to find the things we need. This goes for your self-storage customers as well. Sure, they might have driven by your site, but when it comes to renting a unit, they’re likely considering your competitors, too. Taking a personal tour of several storage facilities is just no longer an option as we continue to social distance, so they’re looking online for info on your business.

Operators with comprehensive websites that offer pricing, list amenities and even provide a video tour will come out ahead. This is all great, but your prospects know you’re putting your best foot forward. So how can they determine if you’re really worth their consideration? Customer testimonials.

Recommendations from people who are already your customers can help convince your prospects that you are deserving of their business. They affirm you can be trusted to keep their treasured belongings safe. They can drive sales and fill your units. Consider the following advice on obtaining and using them.

Ask! If you don’t ask for them, you likely won’t get them. There are so many opportunities to make this request. If you’re still doing in-person rentals, you can ask after you’ve completed the rental. If rentals have moved online, you can follow-up with an email a week or so after the move-in. Really, you can request feedback any time. You can add it to your newsletter, billing statement and social media posts.

Some might find asking for a testimonial awkward or even uncomfortable. You might also be worried the person will provide a negative one, which isn’t your goal. While it’s good practice to ask everyone, it’s not mandatory. If you’re getting a bad vibe from someone who seems angry, irritated or otherwise wouldn’t be fair to your business, you can certainly pass on the ask. You’ll likely find most people who’ve had a pleasant experience with your facility will be happy to provide feedback. Be clear with them on how you plan to use their response and get permission.

Make it simple. A complicated process to leave a testimonial won’t fly. If you want them, you need to make it easy. If they must go to a specific page, then create a username and password, you might not get many participants. There are many third-party review sites and you can create pathways to these from your website and social media platforms. But it’s important to note you won’t have any control over these. Meaning if it’s bad, you’re stuck with it. You will be able to respond, but once the words out there, it might be damaging to your business.

If you're sending an email to ask for customer testimonials, be sure to add a link to the place where they can leave feedback. It’s also beneficial to let customers know it’ll only take a few minutes to complete.

Use it. Positive testimonials can be used in a number of places, including your own website. You might even create a page on your website just to display them. Some operators post them on the main landing page, so visitors see them first. You can also share these great responses on your social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many operators regularly post short video testimonials on their social media pages or YouTube.

Another avenue is your marketing collateral, such as brochures or fliers you mail to local apartment complexes and businesses, moving companies, and realtors. If you have an advertising budget, consider how you can leverage these compliments in your ads.

Customer testimonials can be a powerful tool for self-storage operators, especially as we continue to turn to the Internet to fulfill so many of our needs. It’s often an underutilized marketing strategy that’s actually easy to employ. The next time a tenant praises your self-storage business, get it in writing.

Cherry Hill, NJ, CubeSmart Self-Storage Facility Could House Community Solar Garden

Cherry Hill, N.J., officials are considering a solar garden that would be placed on the roof of a CubeSmart self-storage facility at 1820 Frontage Road. Rather than generate power for the storage property, energy would be put back into the grid for community use, according to the source.

The state-initiated pilot program allows residents to opt-in for credits toward their energy bill rather than install solar panels on their homes. If the CubeSmart project is approved, 60 residents would be eligible to sign up. Per the requirements, 51 percent of them must live in low- and moderate-income housing, the source reported.

The township council on Monday approved a resolution in support of having companies bring the program to the municipality. They have until Feb. 5 to apply for participation. “It's important we act as good stewards for our environment for future generations, and I'm excited to see the potential of this pilot program,” said Mayor Susan Shin Angulo.

The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program was created in 2018 under Gov. Phil Murphy. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities formally adopted rules in January 2019.

Based in Malvern, Pa., CubeSmart owns or manages 1,260 self-storage facilities across the United States. Its operating portfolio comprises 86 million square feet.

Patch, Cherry Hill Considers Solar Panel Project Under NJ Pilot Program

Parma, OH, Passes New Ordinances Restricting Self-Storage Development

The Parma, Ohio, City Council has approved two new ordinances that could limit self-storage development in the city. The move comes nearly a year after the council imposed a six-month moratorium that allowed officials to consider how they wished address this business type going forward, according to the source.

To be approved, new self-storage projects must be at least one mile from any other existing facility. In addition, design must be approved by the planning commission and meet specific architectural requirements. For example, buildings must include brick or masonry façades as well as perimeter fencing. Outdoor vehicle storage will no longer be permitted, though existing facilities with this feature will be unaffected, said Melissa Morrow, assistant city engineer.

Parma currently has seven storage properties, with one new project slated for a vacant parcel at 12300 Snow Road. “This was a proactive response,” said Erik Tollerup, community-services director. “The amount of existing self-storage that was in place, we felt, was adequate to serve Parma, especially since there was another development that had been approved but hadn’t broken ground yet.”

Other communities are passing similar ordinances, said Mayor Tim DeGeeter. “For a city that relies on income taxes to provide services to residents, this isn’t a good bet,” he said. “[Self-storage facilities] take up a lot of acreage, and the fact [that] we’re an inner-ring suburb, we have very few big parcels available. Hence, we want to have those parcels filled with people who are employed and paying income tax that we can then put that back into our city. That’s why we did this.”

The ordinances were sponsored by councilmembers Vito Dipierro and Kristin Saban.

Source:, Parma Council Packs Added Requirements into Limiting New Self-Storage Facilities

When It Comes to Self-Storage Security, Owners, Managers and Tenants All Have a Role to Play


Self-storage facilities are often the target of theft because criminals know that behind those unit doors could be items of value. Thankfully, the industry has many tried-and-true ways to keep sites secure, from controlled access and alarms to perimeter fencing and security cameras.

These physical measures are a must, but ultimately, security is about people. From the owners who set the property infrastructure to facility employees who follow best practices, everyone has a role to play. Even your tenants need to participate. It’s a true team effort!

Following is a guide to the responsibilities of each stakeholder when it comes to keeping threats at bay. Working together, they can minimize the chances of a storage facility falling victim to crime.


The responsibility for keeping a self-storage facility secure first rests in the hands of ownership. They must understand and assess potential threats, invest in the best security, keep staff trained and informed, and keep the property well-maintained. Investment in the latest technology is really a critical aspect. Fortunately, there’s are lots of tools available, including lighting, cut-resistant fending, motion sensors, modern surveillance cameras, unit alarms, electronic door locks and more.

Owners should bear in mind that employees and tenants themselves could present a security threat. Either could use their position to steal from the property. In the case of renters, they could be storing hazardous, prohibited items or even living in their unit. This is why it’s important that all staff and tenants be properly screened. There are many companies available to perform background checks, which should uncover indicators of criminal or other poor behavior. Of course, everyone’s personal information should always be protected!


It’s critical that self-storage employees follow facility protocols and always remain vigilant. They should check entrances and exits regularly, monitor customer and visitor behavior on surveillance cameras, and engage with tenants.

It’s also important that they adopt a true customer-service ethic. Everything they do should be designed to create the best possible experience for renters. That means building a relationship with them to create a bond of trust. This ensures everyone is looking out for each other, and customers feel comfortable reporting incidents and potential threats to staff.


Self-storage security is a joint endeavor, and even your customers must play their part. They need to be sensible, follow best practices and abide by site rules. It’s vital that they contribute to keeping their belongings safe, working with staff and owners so nothing slips through the net. For instance:

  • Under no circumstances should they give out their keys or access codes, even to a trusted confidant. There’s no guarantee that even a close friend or family member won’t accidentally let a passcode slip within earshot of an opportunistic criminal.
  • It’s important for customers to keep an accurate inventory of their items, so they know when something goes missing. They should also avoid storing anything that isn’t covered by their tenant-insurance or tenant-protection plan.
  • Finally, tenants should know when and to whom to report suspicious behavior in and around the facility.

When it comes to keeping storage facilities safe, it really is a team effort. Owners, employees and tenants all need to know their roles. More important, they need to trust one another. In this case, first impressions are key. If new customers see a facility is well-maintained, they’ll implicitly believe it to be safe. Plus, if they follow the rules, facility operators will have one less thing to worry about!

Olaf Jensen is the copywriter for IFSEC Global, an annual trade fair and conference for the global security industry. A graduate of the University of York, he has been writing blogs, articles and editorials on security issues for two years.

Is Self-Storage Still a Good Investment? Owner AJ Osborne Takes on the Negative Nellies

There’s been some talk—sometimes lots of it—about market saturation in self-storage, leaving some would-be investors to wonder whether the industry still offers a lucrative opportunity. And it’s no wonder, with new supply having increased 443 percent over the last 20 years, including a 27 percent bump in 2020 alone. But AJ Osborne doesn’t listen to the Negative Nellies! In this video, the operator of Keylock Storage and finance consultancy Cashflow 2 Freedom tackles the issue head on, examining recent industry trends alongside economic and market dynamics to conclude whether self-storage remains a good investment. Find out why he believes there’s still prodigious times ahead.