There is a growing trend in markets large and small to convert former grocery stores or other vacant retail space into secure, climate controlled storage centers. This new market model is a win-win for everyone. Strip mall owners are able to get long term leases on retail space that was sitting idle. The self storage center is able to get a great price on existing space that is already under roof and has HVAC. Plus,can be converted less expensively to storage units then if they were starting from scratch. The big winner is the self-storage consumer.
Since these new storage centers are in retail areas they tend to be more conveniently located than newer, free-standing self storage centers. Because the overhead is lower the rates for individual storage units are often less expensive per square foot. These centers also offer a wider variety of space options since not all of their storage units are the same cookie-cutter size. This is really handy if you have something that is over sized or an odd shape that needs to be stored. The biggest plus is this new generation of climate controlled storage is an added level of security.
The converted retail stores to self storage centers have limited access, either through the front doors or the shipping bay doors. These are easy to monitor both by humans and by video security cameras. This is much better that hundreds of feet of chain length fence – often with blind spots that are not monitored – and the risk of someone breaking into your storage unit undetected.
Another plus, especially if you do not visit your storage unit very often, it is unlikely you will experience a climate related accident such as freezing of water damage. If the roof is leaking in these storage centers, someone will notice. If the roof is leaking in a single storage bays of a free standing self storage center, no one would notice until you arrived and opened the door.
Another plus of these next generation storage centers is many will offer high security storage. This is usually a section within the storage center that is well secured, with heavier locks on doors, better video monitoring and often manned by a security guard 24/7. These are well suited for the storage of valuable antiques or works of art. While not inexpensive, this level of storage goes for a fraction of what high end, all-climate storage used to cost.
The only down side to these new storage centers, especially those that are just getting started, they do not offer the same access that the more mature free standing self storage centers offer.
Because there are now more options then ever for self storage, including the new portable on demand storage solutions, rates have been stabilizing and in some cases actually coming down. You would be well advised to shop around for the best pricing, especially if you are looking for a long term contract. Self service center owners are less likely to give a price break to someone who will only be there for a few months, but will often cut deals better than the printed price sheet for someone looking at a multiple year lease.
Before you sign any long term contract, be sure to read it carefully and insist on a job change or emergence “escape” clause. If you suddenly get transferred or have something else unforeseen occur, you don’t want to end up paying for years on an empty storage unit.
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Article Added on Tuesday, December 12, 2006
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