Now's the time to hunt for self-storage, according to Strategic Storage Trust CEO Michael Schwartz, whose California-based company is already a major owner in the sector. (Let's just hope your huntin' shoes aren't already in storage, or this could get confusing.) Retail might follow rooftops, but so does self-storage. As the housing market recovers, people start buying more stuff again.
The markets of the Southeast, including the Carolinas, are prime targets for the REIT's latest acquisition drive. Michael tells us that the company wants to grow clusters of properties in strong markets SSTI has long been in—such as Charlotte and Charleston—to foster economies of scale. Recently the company closed on the last phase of a 16-property self-storage portfolio that includes 1.1M SF of storage space in six properties in South Carolina, along with self-storage facilities with Florida and Georgia, totaling about 3,740 units.
The company is also looking for markets with high barriers to entry, and Charleston/Mt. Pleasant in particular fits. It's harder to get self-storage approved there than in many places, and often new properties in the area must have 150-foot setbacks, which can make them a little hard to see. The company's new portfolio, including 1533 Ashley River Rd in Charleston (pictured), makes SSTI one of the larger self-storage owner/operators in the Charleston/Mt. Pleasant market, without the muss or fuss of developing new properties.