Self Storage – A Maturing Industry

Schlage Lock and a hand painted sign in front.  They were usually erected to utilize land that was intended for higher and better use in the near future.  Leasing was done by phoning a number on the board outside the swing gate with the phone number of the owner who would hustle down and open up a unit to display.  They were usually 10×20 or 10x 30.  Over the years the industry has grown into local ownership of 1 to 4 locations, regional ownership up to 50 locations and national ownership by REITs such as Public Storage and U-Haul, with several hundred locations each.  Many of the regional holdings are made up of individually owned buildings combined under a common name, a common reservation center and management all supplied by the Licensor of the name.  Today U-Haul will provide a truck and loading team to take a truck to the customer’s residence, to load the truck and to arrange a storage unit and unloading team to greet the truck at its destination, all accomplished by a single visit to their web site.   What used to be a number of garages placed side by side, has evolved into multi storied buildings (usually dependent on land cost), heavy duty elevators, apartments for on-site managers, “call board” type signs listing the specialty of the month, air conditioned space, office styled architecture, shinny steel wall interiors and extensive landscaping.   Today, in spite of an expected decrease in occupancy due to the recession, the self storage industry is a very attractive investment vehicle and contests for cap rates rivaling top quality product.]]>

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