A joint venture (JV) between U.K. real estate fund manager Moorfield Group and Stor-Age Property REIT, a real estate investment trust that operates self-storage in South Africa and the United Kingdom, has acquired the four-property Storagebase portfolio in South England for £59 million. Comprising about 300,000 square feet, the assets will be rebranded as Storage King, a U.K. brand also owned by Stor-Age, according to a press release.
The portfolio includes operating facilities in Banbury, Frome and Wednesbury. The fourth property, a 102,000-square-foot development in Amesbury, is under construction and expected to be complete in April. Stor-Age owns a 24.9% equity interest in its JV with Moorfield and also earns management fees from acquiring, developing and managing properties through the partnership, the release stated. The facilities will be overseen by the Storage King third-party management platform, Management 1st.
“Stor-Age made a strategic entry into the U.K. self storage market a little more than four years ago, in November 2017,” said Stor-Age CEO Gavin Lucas. “Since then, we’ve seen Storage King deliver not only superb operating results year after year, but we’ve also seen it grow significantly, from 13 properties to 30 today, with a further four properties secured in the development pipeline.”
The Storagebase acquisition is the third in the U.K. by Stor-Age during the current fiscal year, with a total investment of more than £100 million, company officials said. The REIT acquired a four-property portfolio in January for £37.5 million.
Storagebase was founded about 20 years ago. The company hired Bristol, England-based FRP Corporate Finance Ltd. to find interested buyers. “[We’re] extremely proud of the business we have developed over the past two decades, with our market-leading occupancy levels testament to the outstanding facilities we’ve created for our diverse base of commercial and domestic customers,” Storagebase officials said in a released statement. “This was reflected in the number of high-quality potential acquirers FRP brought to the table to not only recognize the value of our store portfolio but also the model that we have created.”
Moorfield and Stor-Age formed a £100 million JV in October 2020 to expand the Storage King portfolio in London and Southeast England. Moorfield’s self-storage investments fit within its “alternatives” portfolio, which also includes interests in senior and student housing as well as nursing homes and dementia-care facilities. The company has invested in U.K. real estate on behalf of global institutions since 1996.
Headquartered in Cape Town and established in 2006 by the Lucas Family, Stor-Age operates a portfolio of 55 self-storage locations in South Africa. In the U.K., it owns the Storage King brand, which comprises 30 self-storage properties. It’s the operator appointed by Stor-Age Property Fund Managers Pty. Ltd. to manage and market the property portfolio owned by Stor-Age Property Holdings Pty. Ltd., and was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in November 2015.
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