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Articles from 2014 In April


U-Haul Acquires Self-Storage Facility in Fernandina Beach, FL

U-Haul International Inc. has purchased a former AAA Self-Storage/Staples facility and U-Haul dealership in Fernandina Beach, Fla., and rebranded it as U-Haul Moving and Storage. The 50,625-square-foot building at 1830 S. 8th St. sits on 5.85 acres. It consists of 22,630 square feet of mezzanine space and 23,820 square feet of vacant retail space, which will be used for the company’s portable-storage trailers. It also has 38,553 net rentable square feet of self-storage space, including 262 units and 43 RV-parking spaces.

The acquisition of this property was driven by U-Haul’s corporate sustainability initiatives, which supports infill development to help local communities lower their carbon footprint, according to a press release. The company’s adaptive reuse of existing buildings eliminates the amount of energy and resources required for new-construction materials and helps local cities diminish their unwanted inventory of unused buildings, according to a company press release.

Established in 1945, U-Haul more than 40 million square feet of storage space at more than 1,000 owned and managed facilities throughout North America.

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Storage Express Acquires Self-Storage Facility in Fort Wayne, IN

Bloomington, Ind.-based Storage Express has acquired a self-storage property in Fort Wayne, Ind., the company’s first in the city. The 65,000-square-foot facility on St. Joe Center Road is off of I-69. The company plans to upgrade the site with new security and access-control features, a 24-hour rental center and other amenities.

Storage Express has been actively expanding in the Indianapolis-metro storage market. Recent acquisitions include Community Storage in January and Store N Lock in November, both of which are in Indianapolis. Overall, the company has added eight new locations to its portfolio in the past year. In 2013, it purchased D-V Storage in Anderson, Ind.; Palm Storage in Richmond, Ind.; and a three-property portfolio in Sidney, Ohio, from Lock-It-Up Storage.

Storage Express owns and operates more than 80 self-storage properties in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

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Storage.com Integrates With Self Storage Manager Software Program

Storage.com, an online directory and provider of search engine optimization (SEO) packages for self-storage facilities, is now integrated with the E-SoftSys Self Storage Manager (SSM) software program. The data integration pulls available unit sizes and prices from storage facilities using SSM, allowing consumers to reserve a unit and place reservations directly into an operator’s system.

Operators using SSM will no longer have to manually change inventory and pricing on Storage.com, company officials said in a press release. “Our clients who use the Self Storage Manager system will now find it much easier to have an up-to-date online presence,” said Nick Bilava, director of sales and marketing for Storage.com.

“This partnership will make it much easier for our customers, who also do business with Storage.com, to keep their listings up-to-date and have a customer’s reservation show up on the Self Storage Manager system,” added Kat Shenoy, president and CEO of E-SoftSys.

E-SoftSys, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and ISO 9001:2008 certified company, provides software products for the self-storage industry, including SSM and e-CRM. The company also offers add-on modules such as the INSOMNIAC kiosk interface, online payments, online reservations and rentals, the QlikView Business Intelligence and Analytics interface, and the iPad/tablet-based Site Audit and Walk Through Application.

Storage.com was designed to help storage businesses compete more effectively in the online marketplace and allow potential customers to search for self-storage in their area, according to company officials. The website integrates with a facility’s property-management software. For those operating without such software, it offers inventory-management tools. It also delivers exclusive reservations to operators and provides an SEO package.

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SpareFoot Releases Self-Storage Trends Report for 1Q 2014

SpareFoot, an online marketplace for the self-storage industry, has released its Storage Trends Quarterly report for the first quarter of 2014, focusing on construction spending, development, rental rates and more. Posted on the company blog, the report also includes marketing and demographic data compiled from SpareFoot's 7,000 member self-storage facilities. Report highlights include:

  • Figures on self-storage construction spending
  • Storage development projects scheduled for 2014
  • Average monthly pricing in 2013
  • Seasonal operating-performance figures for the self-storage real estate investment trusts
  • Unit-pricing trends, including a forecast for 2015
  • Top 15 baby boomer boom towns
  • Best performing marketing channels
  • Markets with the largest and smallest rent increases in 2014
  • Month-by-month breakdown of why storage customers are moving

The report can be viewed in an interactive format on The SpareFoot Blog. It may also be downloaded as a PDF document.

Founded in 2008, SpareFoot.com helps consumers find and reserve self-storage units, with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals. With a network of more than 7,000 storage facilities ranging from mom-and-pop operations to REITs, the company reaches prospective storage renters though partnerships with brands including SelfStorage.com, Apartments.com and Penske Truck Rental.

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DBCI Demonstrates Replaceable Panels on Curl-Lok Self-Storage Door

In this stylish product spot from DBCI, a manufacturer of self-storage roll-up doors and other building components, company executives and customers discuss and demonstrate the benefits of Curl-Lok, a new door constructed of replaceable panels. The product is engineered with curls that lock along the edges rather than seam together.

Aussie Self-Storage Market Expands Despite Obstacles to New Development

The Australian self-storage industry is well-established and still growing. Though a lack of funding provides obstacles to new development, some of the largest players continue to expand, and there are even new entrants to the market. One niche finding a foothold is the mobile-storage business, which is realizing accelerated growth.

Finance and Development

One of the biggest obstacles to continued growth in the Australian self-storage market is financing. “We don't have the range of lenders available to our operators that U.S. operators do, hence financing options are more limited,” says Dallas Dogger, CEO of Centreforce Technology Group, an Australian company specializing in self-storage software, websites and security. In addition, some banks still consider the industry “too risky” despite its established presence. As such, interest rates are higher for self-storage development projects than for other commercial real estate ventures.

However, the market has seen some signs of expansion. There are a number of new sites under construction in major cities, and a few new developers are entering the market. “Land remains the No. 1 cost, and combined with banks wanting essentially a 50/50 lend, new sites remain a challenge,” Dogger says.

Kennards Self Storage operates 74 facilities in Australia and New Zealand.An influx in development may come from APN Property Group, an Australia-based real estate fund manager that specializes in the Asia-Pacific market. The firm could be readying for new self-storage investment activity, according to an August report by “The Australian.” APN reportedly told investors it is in early talks with a specific company about the sector, and industry sources speculated it could be a "rival global player."

APN operates a $206 million AUD National Storage Property Trust that invests in 37 storage facilities leased to National Storage Property (NSP). In 2011, NSP created a joint venture with Chicago-based real estate investment management firm Heitman to purchase 20 properties for $175 million from APN Funds Management and the Investec Property Opportunity Fund.

Kennards Self Storage, one of Australia’s largest operators, continues to add to its portfolio, which consists of 74 locations in Australia and New Zealand. Earlier this summer, the company was granted a special-use zoning change that will enable it to build a new facility in the Kemblawarra Business Park.

Kennards also opened a facility in Klemzig last spring and recently converted an iconic Coca-Cola factory in North Sydney to self-storage. The conversion project, which opened in September, includes a large retail area, Wi-Fi access and customer-lounge spaces. It also accommodates vehicle storage.

Other operators have left the business. In February the owner of Ezy Access Storage in Toowoomba, Queensland, sold his five-year-old property for $3.5 million. Matt Walsh of Highway Frontage Real Estate, who brokered the transaction, told "The Chronicle" that the owner's decision was due to his lack of industry experience. Walsh said the new owners would likely continue to use the building for self-storage.

Although the last six years have not been particularly prosperous for Australian businesses, Dogger says a change in consumer sentiment should bode well for the self-storage market. “Housing prices are improving again, and that stimulates housing sales. That, in turn, will increase opportunities for the self-storage industry.”

Mobile Storage Moves Up

The evolution of mobile-storage has been rapid in Australia, according to Molly Wiley, marketing manager for TaxiBox, a new operator on the scene. The service was first introduced to the market about seven years ago, and has since grown to include 15 mobile-storage companies nationally, predominantly in Melbourne and Sydney. “The last three years have seen a faster ramp-up in further entrants, with new operators in Brisbane, Adelaide, and very recently even Perth,” Wiley says.

TaxiBox started in Melbourne in 2010 and expanded its service to Sydney in December 2012. This year it launched phase two of its national expansion strategy For more information about Australia's budding mobile-storage market, read the full-length feature story contributed by Molly Wiley of TaxiBox. Type code TAXIB3 in the ISS website search box.with the addition of interstate moves and transportation service.

This past summer, Smartbox opened a new 7,000-square-foot facility in Hillsdale, Sydney, to meet the growing needs of its business and residential customers in the region. The new facility is near Port Botany, a major seaport, and offers outdoor storage for vehicles, boats, trailers and caravans in addition to mobile storage. The company operates another facility in Melbourne.

The outlook for the mobile self-storage industry in Australia remains positive, although further competition is beginning to squeeze margins for some facilities, Wiley says. "We have yet to see the emergence of a clear leader in the industry, and this space is still to be explored; although some operators have begun to make headway toward positioning themselves as the top national operator in this niche within self-storage."

SurePoint Self Storage Breaks Ground on Development in Schertz, TX

SurePoint Self Storage has broken ground on a new 113,000-square-foot facility in Schertz, Texas. Developers Jeff Bailey, Brian Cisarik and Robert Loeb expect to open the facility at Interstate Highway 35 and Farm-to-Market Road 1103 in January 2015, and the group has planned two other self-storage developments in the San Antonio area.

The trio plans to break ground in July on a 110,000-square-foot facility at the corner of N.W. Military Highway and George Road in the northwestern part of the city. Work on another 110,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Bulverde Parkway and Roseheart, in the North-Central part of the city, is scheduled for December, according to the source.

In addition, three other facilities owned by Cisarik and Loeb—3009 Self Storage in Schertz and Castle Hills Self Storage and Austin Highway Self Storage in San Antonio—are being rebranded under the SurePoint trade name, the source reported.

Cisarik and Loeb have been active in the San Antonio self-storage market since 2001 when they built the Castle Hills facility. They opened Austin Highway Self Storage in 2003 and purchased majority ownership in 3009 Self Storage in 2010.

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Inside Self-Storage Offers Digital Magazine Subscriptions

ISS Digital Magazine Subscription

Inside Self-Storage (ISS), which has produced ISS magazine for self-storage owners, managers, developers and investors since 1991, is now offering annual subscriptions to a digital version of the monthly print magazine. Subscribers may choose to receive a digital version in addition to print at no extra charge.

The digital version is a replica of the print magazine, produced in PDF format and e-mailed directly to subscribers. The PDF files are optimized for viewing on personal computers, tablets and other mobile devices. They also contain hot links to select websites and e-mails mentioned within the content.

ISS publishes 12 monthly issues of the magazine each year, in addition to premium content accessible on its website, including thematic digital issues, reports, slideshows, image galleries, blogs and whitepapers. Thematic digital issues and other premium content offered as free downloads on the ISS website are not included as part of a digital subscription to the magazine.

Three different rates are available for subscribers in the United States, Canada and international customers other than Canada. Print and digital ISS subscriptions are fulfilled by Omeda, a company specializing in database management and subscription services. Details and offers can be viewed on the ISS subscription page.

For nearly 25 years, ISS has provided informational resources for the self-storage industry. Its educational offerings include ISS magazine, the annual Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas, an extensive website, the ISS Store, and Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community.

Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly to Greet Fans at Uncle Bob's Self Storage in Charlotte, NC

Carolina Panthers’ linebacker Luke Kuechly will sign autographs and greet fans at a “Kick Off the Draft” event on May 3, hosted by the Uncle Bob’s Self Storage at 7209 Wallace Lane in Charlotte, N.C. Kuechly will sign provided photographs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. No memorabilia will be permitted.

The event, one week before the NFL draft, enables fans to meet a player familiar with the process. Kuechly was the ninth overall pick during the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. “The draft process can be a stressful time, but once you hear your name called it’s a dream come true. I wish the incoming draft class the best of luck,” Kuechly said.

The event will also feature other sport-themed attractions including an inflatable football toss and a 30-foot obstacle course. Papa John’s will provide pizza and other refreshments. Prizes will be given to fans at a game tent sponsored by pop radio station Kiss 95.1.

“Luke is not only an elite athlete but also an exemplary member of the community," said Ron Kuhn, area manager for Uncle Bob’s Charlotte facilities. “We are thrilled he’s coming by our store, and we know the fans will enjoy everything the event has to offer. We’re looking forward to a fun day with our Charlotte friends and family.”

Kuechly was named the 2012 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year and the 2013 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year. He was awarded the Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2011 for athletic achievements and community engagement while attending Boston College. Kuechly is the spokesperson for Project Life, an organization dedicated to registering college students for bone marrow donations.

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage is owned by Sovran Self Storage Inc., a real estate investment trust that acquires and manages self-storage facilities. The company operates more than 475 facilities in 25 states, including nine in the Charlotte area.

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Sterling Group Acquires 6 Indiana Self-Storage Facilities for $15M

The Sterling Group, an Indiana-based real estate company specializing in self-storage and multi-family properties, has acquired six storage facilities in the state for $15 million. The properties are in Elkhart, Evansville and Fort Wayne. Sterling will operate the assets under its self-storage brand, Mini Storage Depot.

The properties comprise more than 364,000 square feet of storage space in 2,800 units. "These assets provide a tremendous value-added opportunity and an ability to capitalize on the continued economic growth of Indiana,” said Larry Swank, CEO. “As we evaluate new investment opportunities, we continue to monitor local market conditions that indicate growth in this sector of the business. We are excited to expand the Mini Storage Depot brand in Indiana and look forward to serving its citizens with quality self-storage solutions.”

Sterling has been active in self-storage since it launched Mini Storage Depot in 1986. The company’s storage portfolio includes 18 properties comprising more than 1.1 million square feet throughout Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Sterling’s complete property portfolio is in 16 states throughout the Midwest and Southeast. The company also operates Sterling Management Ltd., which provides property- and fee-management services to self-storage facilities and multi-family properties across the United States.