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Everest Self Storage Supports Military Families With Food and Clothing Drive

Everest Self Storage in California is partnering with Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. to collect food, clothing and living items for military families. Everest will also donate a unit to store the collected items until they’re distributed.

Volunteers from Blue Star Mothers will be at three Everest Self Storage facilities—Anaheim, El Segundo and Rosemead—to collect the items on Nov. 27. The drive will focus on collecting food, toys, hygiene products and cleaning supplies.

Blue Star Mothers is a non-partisan, non-political organization of mothers who now have or have had children honorably serving in the military.

Everest Storage owns and manages self-storage facilities throughout the United States and in Canada under the brand name, Advantage Self Storage.

Source:  Earth Times,  Southern California Self Storage Company Teams With Blue Star Mothers of America to Support the Family of the Military Servicing Abroad

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West Coast Self Storage Group to Develop Vancouver Parcel

West Coast Self Storage Group along with its financial partner, Catalyst Storage Investors, purchased a 1.62-acred parcel in Vancouver, Wash., in the Fishers Landing area. This is the second Vancouver land purchase made by West Coast since forming its joint venture with Catalyst. The site will be developed in 2010. 
 
The two firms, comprised of former senior executives from Shurgard Storage Centers, continue to expand, seeking development and acquisition opportunities in California, Oregon and Washington.
 
West Coast Self Storage Group manages 14 locations in Oregon and Washington.

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Singapore Self-Storage Operator Reports Quadrupled Net Profit

Hersing Corp. of Singapore, which operates StorHub Self Storage, a Western Union money-remittance business and ERA Real Estate, reported that its third-quarter 2009 net profit more than quadrupled over the same period last year. Earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 were S$4.4 million, up from S$1.07 million.
 
Hersing attributes the jump to a 49 percent turnover growth of S$66.4 million. The company said the primary driver of revenue was increased real estate activity and the marketing of new developments.
 
StorHub is Singapore’s first self-storage facility. Hersing said the business has proven to be recession-resilient.
 
Hersing holds the master franchise rights for the ERA Real Estate brand in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Coldwell Banker Real Estate's residential and commercial franchises. Hersing is also Western Union’s agent partner for Singapore.

Source: Channel News Asia, Hersing Q3 profit more than quadrupled to S$4.4m on higher turnover

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Quality Self Storage Assists Victims of Tainted Chinese Drywall

Quality Self-Storage in North Fort Myers, Fla., is offering a 50 percent off of rent for a full year of storage to people in the area who are victims of tainted Chinese drywall. The company is also running a special rate of $20.09 per month on select units for the first month of storage.
 
This year thousands of recently constructed homes in the southern United States—mostly in Florida and Louisiana—face partial or complete reconstruction after investigators linked health problems and odors to chemicals used in drywall imported from China.
 
Quality Self-Storage is a drop-off location for the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation and the storage location for many local law-enforcement and fire companies. The facility participates regularly in community and chamber of commerce events.
 
Source: North Fort Myers Neighbor, Quality Self Storage offers help for drywall victims

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RS-SQL: Compatibility With Windows 7

O’Neil Software, a provider of records-management software and hardware, announced that its flagship software product, RS-SQL, is now compatible with Microsoft Windows 7. The product offers users enhanced security, innovative user-interface features and reliability improvements.
 
“Making our flagship RS-SQL software product compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 helps us offer our customers compelling benefits, including intuitive user interfaces such as multi-touch; improved security and reliability features; tools to keep them connected to data stored on the Web; advanced graphic hardware acceleration; full support for multi-core processing; sophisticated management features; intelligent power management and flexible access administration to improve mobile working,” said Ian Thomas, vice president of business development.
 
O’Neil serves more than 850 records centers worldwide, ranging from startups to multi-nationals. Its software manages and tracks multiple types of data, including storage boxes, file folders, documents and tapes.

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A+ Storage Helps Susan G. Komen Race Raise $1.3M

A+ Storage helped the Susan G. Komen (SGK) Race for the Cure, Greater Nashville Affiliate, raise $1.3 million during an October fundraiser.

In addition to providing year-round storage to SGK, A+ Storage provided a room where more than 10,000 race packets were assembled for the Oct. 10 event. The facility partnered with Dell Computers and the Hard Rock Café, who graciously made available employees for the assembly of the race packets. A+ Storage's 10 locations in the Nashville market were designated as packet pickup points. This year's race drew more than 12,000 participants.

SGK is a non-profit that helps fund research and development for the cure of breast cancer. Up to 75 percent of net proceeds raised by the Komen Greater Nashville Affiliate is dedicated to fighting breast cancer in Middle Tennessee. In 2008, it funded 11 local programs and distributed more than $600,000 to the cause.

 

“The Susan G. Komen team is a pleasure to work with,” says Robert Craig of A+ Storage. “They are totally committed, working toward their goals and of the ongoing collaboration to address breast health”

“In spite of the continued recession, I believe there are many wonderful people who are willing to step up and support worthy charitable causes,” Craig adds.  

 

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Former Beacon Executives Form The BSC Group Real Estate Advisory Firm

Several senior executives formerly allied with Beacon Realty Capital have opened The BSC Group, a commercial real estate investment advisory services firm. Based in Chicago, The BSC Group offers financial and loan advisory, workout, loan assumption and mortgage-brokerage solutions to owners and investors of every commercial real estate property type, with a special emphasis on the self-storage market.
 
The new firm’s principals are Neal Gussis, Shawn Hill and Devin Huber. Tony Raimondi has joined the company as a senior vice president. All are commercial real estate finance veterans who previously worked at Beacon.
 
“We recognized when forming our company that property owners and investors required more than simply loan products when turning to us for support ... they sought answers and advice. We built The BSC Group to go beyond traditional loan-origination services to provide clients with advisory solutions that help them optimize professional and personal financial goals,” said Hill.
 
Working through their extensive capital-source network, BSC team members provide clients with access to debt and equity financing for commercial real estate investments nationwide. In addition, their advisory solutions include helping clients establish realistic expectations of what the market can deliver, counsel on leveraging current property investments, and recommendations for financing packages that meet specific capital requirements.
 
Additional information about the firm and its services can be found at TheBSCGroup.com.

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10 Units Broken Into at Crazy Ray's Self Storage in GA

Ten units were broken into at Crazy Ray’s Self Storage in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, but police could only confirm theft from one of them. One tenant reported that a $300 set of tools and drills was missing from his unit. The other victims will need to take stock of their unit contents.
 
Source: Athens Banner-Herald, 10 units entered at self-storage

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ISS Blog

Self-Storage Talk: A Community That Cares! Really!

We’ve boasted about the wonderful-ness of Self-Storage Talk forum on the blog pages numerous times. We’ve written about how forum members swap stories, offer each other advice and occasionally vent about customers, bosses and co-workers.

Last week, forum members pulled together to help the son of a family member. SST Moderator Storman’s son plays high school football. When the team was in the running to be the featured “Game of the Week” on a local TV station's website, he asked his forum friends to vote via the Web. If featured, the two schools playing would also receive $500 from Wells Fargo.

“Our school district is in such dire straits that they canceled all high school sports this past summer, but the outpouring of financial support from the community and athletes allowed sports to continue, at least for fall sports. We need every penny we can get,” Storman wrote on the forum.

The outpouring from the forum was AMAZING. Not only did forum members vote, they voted multiple times. Hopefully, the Self-Storage Talk forum members contributed to the team’s win. Yes, it was only a simple website vote, but had it been a charity or fundraiser, I’m positive forum members would have gotten on board to help.

The Self-Storage Talk community has swelled to more than 2,000 members. If you’re not an SST member, I encourage you to sign up and see what all the talk is about. Membership is free and only takes minutes. If you have questions about marketing, a legal issue or just want to relate a funny story, SST is the place to do it.

If you’re a “lurker,” join in the discussions. Your opinion is valued. That’s one of things that’s so great about the forum—the diverse views from people of all walks of life. And if you’re a regular forum contributor, THANK YOU for being a part of this incredible community!

Self-Storage in the Western States: Real Estate Snapshot

I recently assembled a roundtable of real estate experts to discuss the state of self-storage in the Western United States. I asked them to comment on their local markets and share their predictions for future performance. Joining us in the discussion are: 

  • Richard Arnold, Argus Northwest Real Estate, Hillsboro, Ore.
  • Marc Handley, HRE Inc., Salt Lake City
  • David Laney, RealStar Commercial Real Estate, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Ryan Layton, American Real Estate Associates, Spokane, Wash.
  • Joan Lucas, Joan Lucas Real Estate Services, Denver
  • Stuart Ripley, Business Team, Roseville, Calif.

1. How are self-storage occupancies holding up in your market? Are owners in your area using rent concessions or new advertising avenues to attract customers?

Arnold: Occupancies in Oregon have held up fairly well, with vacancies ranging between 10 percent and 20 percent. This isn’t substantially greater than it was a year ago. Many owners are offering a full month free after three months of occupancy in lieu of cutting rental rates.

Handley: In Utah and Nevada, we’re definitely seeing a slip in occupancy levels, but owners haven’t been too concerned. There haven’t been many changes in terms of concessions offered, but we’re seeing owners evaluating expenses to cut costs. One of the big areas we’re seeing a reduction in is advertising, especially in the Yellow Pages. Many owners are trying to focus on drive-by advertising and Internet marketing to reduce expenditures.

Laney: In Arizona, the Phoenix market has taken the brunt of the economic downturn, with storage operators competing for few renters in an overbuilt market. Commercial-business rentals have fallen off as small businesses have closed due to the economy.

The Mesa/Tempe markets have experienced loss of occupancy as tenants have either downgraded their unit size or simply moved out. Scottsdale has experienced the least downturn; foreclosures and truck rentals for job relocations have helped buoy that market. The Tucson market is down but stable.

The Colorado River Valley markets have been impacted by a double whammy thanks to a downturn in gambling tourists in the Las Vegas, Laughlin and Los Angeles areas.

New Mexico storage owners have actually benefited from the lower gas prices and the changing economy. There has been either little loss or even a small uptick in rental activity due to job relocations. Several operators mentioned they intend to upgrade their signage or facility appearance and offer incentives.

Layton: Occupancies have remained fairly stable in Washington, especially in the major markets. Some owners who built in the past three or four years are doing creative marketing to get customers, but the stable properties are not conceding on rent. Some are copying Public Storage’s $1 first month or other move-in specials but, overall, most facilities are holding rents firm.

Lucas: We recently co-hosted a dinner with Extra Space Self Storage for 40 self-storage owners and operators in Colorado. It was interesting to learn that the owners in areas with strong demographics seemed to weather the storm better than those in the lower-income areas. One owner said he had more large units available, but all the small units (with higher rates per square foot) were 100 percent occupied. All reported that delinquencies are up, and they’re doing what they can to get new tenants in the property and retain those they have.

Ripley: In North California, facilities that have been established for more than three years are hovering at 75 percent occupancy and better. Some operators are using discounts or free-rent deals to attract new tenants. There has also been an increase in renters who are vacating their class-A office space in favor of more affordable office-warehouse units. 

2. What types of buyers are in your market, large regional and national owners or small, local operators and new owners?

Arnold: Buyers in my market are typically the larger public companies and syndicates, but there are few sellers willing to part with their properties.

Handley: We see buyers of all types in our market, but the majority of transactions belong to small, local or out-of-state operators. National companies will take an interest in the larger facilities if they’re established in the area or if they can acquire multiple assets.

Laney: The buyers in the current marketplace have been the small investors looking for properties $2 million and under. Existing storage owners looking to buy properties in their current markets are also common. The real estate investment trusts don’t appear to be in the acquisitions game right now.

Layton: Small, local operators adding to their portfolio and new owners comprise most of the buyers in Washington. Our cap rates haven’t been driven skyward as in some areas, so many of the large regional buyers are looking elsewhere. Self-storage is one of the most stable investments in Washington since occupancies remain high and barriers to entry are higher, making the state a desirable market for the long-term investor.

Lucas: We have a couple of large development opportunities that, in a normal market, would be excellent investments for any one of the large national operators. That being said, after talking with all of the major players, none are in the market to purchase or develop. We have quite a bit of interest on a listing that has seller financing, but it appears most buyers are still waiting for the bottom of the market before they start to actively purchase facilities.

Ripley: Larger buyers in North California are looking for properties of more than 50,000 square feet, but the greater potential comes from smaller operators seeking to increase their portfolios with properties that have good upside. There’s no development activity in the market, which is reinforced by the lenders’ attitude toward financing new projects.

3. Describe the cap-rate situation in your market. What changes have you seen over the last year?

Handley: We’ve seen a slight increase in cap rates in Nevada and Utah. There are many variables one needs to consider when evaluating a cap rate, including facility size, class and assumable financing with terms not available in today’s market.

Laney: Arizona cap rates are climbing into the 8 percent to 8.5 percent range, though there is quite a disconnect between the sellers and buyers. The area is being canvassed by distressed-property buyers looking for buys in the 10 percent to 11 percent cap-rate range.

The New Mexico market cap rates are in mid-swing, going up to the 10 percent mark, with Albuquerque and Santa Fe markets in the 8.5 percent to 9 percent range and the rest of New Mexico reaching toward the 10 percent mark. Cap rates may eventually get into the 11 percent range depending on the property and particular market.

Layton: In Washington, the average cap rate is 8.75 percent, up from 7.75 percent last year. Owners are struggling with selling for a higher cap rate, since they’re holding solid investments and they don’t want to give away the property. Some of the foreclosed or bankrupt properties have gone for 10-plus percent cap rates, but those are few and far between.

Lucas: Lenders are not interested in what the project can do in the future. They’re only concerned about the past and current performance of the facility, with cap rates based on the trailing income and expenses. I sold a project at an 8.5 percent cap rate last spring. It was an excellent smaller facility with great occupancy. If I was selling it today, it would probably show a 9 percent cap.

Ripley: Nine percent to 9.5 percent is the typical cap rate on offerings in North California. The key question is whether the numbers the seller presents will hold up to scrutiny once the buyers perform their due diligence. 

4. Why should potential investors and current owners buy self-storage today?

Arnold: Potential investors and existing owners of self-storage should increase their holdings now. It’s unlikely the market will get worse than it is, and if they purchase based on today’s net operating incomes, they should look very good when the pendulum swings upward.

Handley: Self-storage is not a recession-proof business, but it’s close. These assets are sound vs. the other sectors of real estate that are struggling. Even though we’ve seen an increase of self-storage delinquencies and auctions, there’s been a minimal impact on the returns. There’s always another tenant needing a unit and a need for self-storage in virtually any market condition. This makes self-storage a solid investment choice.

Laney: Although there’s some stress in the market, an overwhelming number of operators are anticipating things will get better and seeing improvement in the last three months of rental activity. Most operators in Arizona and New Mexico report cash flow in the positive direction. The current market has encouraged storage businesses to clean up their facilities and offer discounts or more service to be prepared when the economy does turn around. Self-storage is in the least distressed condition when compared to small retail strips and office buildings.

Layton: Self-storage has been a well-kept secret for many real estate investors, and only recently has the secret gotten out. Local owners know they have a good thing going. and the national operators have REITs drooling over self-storage. In these uneasy and unforgiving times, self-storage is a stable, self-sustaining, quality asset that provides solid monthly cash flow year in and year out. If you’re looking for a real estate investment to make your portfolio turn from red to black, consider self-storage.

Lucas: Self-storage has the reputation of being somewhat recession-proof, and this has held true in the current economic downturn. As depressed as the world economy is, self-storage projects are holding their own. With good attention to management and marketing, there’s no reason self-storage won’t continue to be an asset class that outperforms others.

Ripley: Virtually every other type of real estate is now suffering the effects of the economic downturn. Office buildings and all types of commercial/retail properties are seeing an increase in foreclosures. Self-storage, on the other hand, has avoided the same decline, and the vast majority of the businesses are continuing successfully. There may have been some small adjustments with current occupancy vs. a year ago, but self-storage still remains one of the most stable investment options in today’s market.

Michael L. McCune is president of the Argus Self Storage Sales Network, a national network of real estate brokers who specialize in self-storage. Argus provides brokerage, consulting and marketing services to self-storage buyers and sellers and operates SelfStorage.com, a marketing medium and information resource for facility owners. For more information, call 800.55.STORE.

Related Articles:

Self-Storage in the South-Central States: Real Estate Snapshot

The State of Self-Storage: Industry Report 2009

Self-Storage in the Western States: Real Estate Snapshot [December 2008]