Self Storage Property Renovation Trends
The self storage industry didn’t altogether make its presence known until the mid-sixties. It was born in 1964 in Odessa, Texas, out of the need for the oil industry to have convenient access to tools and equipment. The very first self storage facility with garage-style doors was built by Russ Williams and his stepson, Bob Munn.The rest, as they say, is history. Self storage facilities began appearing all over the country, and it’s still big business.
There are close to 60,000 self storage facilities in the U.S. today. Many of them have been around for decades with few updates. These facilities are dated and need physical as well as technological refurbishing to attract today’s more sophisticated consumer.
What’s Trending in Property Renovation
Facilities across the country are modernizing buildings, adding climate-controlled units, converting warehouse-sized buildings, and adding technological enhancements to refresh not only their outdated look but their operations.
Upgrading to Offer Class A Amenities
Modernizing aging facilities to appeal to consumers who want all the bells and whistles is most popular in more saturated markets where store brands have to stand out in the crowd. Class A facilities offer high tech security and access systems, mobile-optimized websites, climate-controlled units, free Wi-Fi, delivery acceptance, online rental options, and much more. Of course, these amenities come with top-of-the-market rental rates.
Tailoring Unit Mix at Existing Facilities
Communities change over decades, and some of the older properties may not have a practical unit mix. Either too many 5 x 10 units or an overabundance of extra large units can create a decline in occupancy. With space being limited in outdated facilities expansion isn’t always feasible, making renovation the only option. Studying the market, the competitive landscape, and area demographics is the only way to gain the data that will help you determine the best unit mix.
Converting Abandoned Retail Spaces to Self Storage Facilities
Large retail department stores and brick and mortar chain stores have closed, leaving hundreds of buildings that are in prime shape to be renovated. The process of working out the local zoning issues may be lengthy; but, once completed, conversion will occur fairly quickly. It’s very likely that more storage facilities will be popping up in malls that are located in desirable primary and secondary markets across the U.S.
Replacing Single-Story with Multi-Level Buildings
Conventional, single-story self storage buildings with a large footprint are more frequently being rejected by city planners. Emphasis is being placed on multi-level buildings with attractive design and appealing landscaping, that are a better fit for the surrounding neighborhoods. In some areas, aging facilities that are in the process of renovation have nowhere to go but up. Owners are remodeling them to resemble modern office buildings with bright, appealing signs to attract more renters.
Looking to the Future
Facilities are not only undergoing tangible, physical renovations but embracing more technology than ever before. Self storage can easily adapt to technology because most customers enjoy the convenience of online transactions. They like contact-free leasing, and choose a facility based on amenities and proximity to their home – not because they’re interested in meeting the staff. Bluetooth locks, smart units, in-app payments, and online rentals are here to stay, and valet/concierge storage services like moving, delivery and pickup will not only be expected but, in some cases, demanded.
Automated doors, elevator access and fold-up loading ramps will need to be in place to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
As self storage evolves, it is developing greater sophistication as an industry. Owners need to think about the impact of their physical renovations, amenities and additional technology on their bottom line. Self storage may have been born in Odessa, Texas, but it’s growing and thriving all over the world.