Contributing Editors

Claremont Museum of Art Goes Virtual and Puts Entire Collection in Storage

by Kim Kilpatrick December 23, 2009 7:34 AM
The Claremont Museum of Art, in Claremont, CA, announced yesterday that it is putting its entire, permanent collection into storage. The museum could not afford to pay its rent. In fact, it still owes three months of back rent (amounting to $15,000) to its landlord, Jerry Tessier. "It is such a grave disappointment," said former Mayor Ellen Taylor, who was on the museum's fundraising committee.

The Museum will go virtual, exhibiting its collection online at its website. It will become a "museum without walls," said founding president Marguerite McIntosh. She estimated that within five years, when the country starts to come out of its recession, the museum might be able to reopen. [More]

Beltway Gears Up for Fort Belvoir Relocation

by Winnie Hsiu December 23, 2009 5:11 AM
"I had been having nightmares trying to figure out how we are going to get through all of this," mused Isiah Leggett, the County Executive for Montgomery County, Maryland. He was referring to the expansion of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, wihch is part of an impending base consolidation that will bring about 19,000 military jobs to the region. Lawmakers announced today that they will allocate $300 million to improve traffic flow, public transit facilities, and pedestrian walkways in the area....Fort Belvoir has set up a website where families can find resources related to their relocation, including a lending closet which will loan out household items for up to two weeks while families wait for their moving vans to arrive, a link to an online calculator that will allow families to make customized checklists and calendars to keep track of their move, and a link to a fact page about the Fort Belvoir area, including information about schools, child care, the cost of living, housing, employment, the commissary and base exchange, banking, medical services, and recreation.

Because the cost of living is higher in the Fort Belvoir area than it is at other bases around the country, families who downsize may also appreciate knowing about self-storage facilities in the area. There are many around the Beltway. Extra Space has numerous facilities in the area, and offers the first month free. [More]

Self-Storage Financing Options Still Include Non-Recourse Commercial Loans

by Holly Robinson December 22, 2009 12:05 PM
Equity Based Services (EBS) announced today that it has purchased two more self-storage facilities....The deal used a combination of equity and debt financing.

EBS financed the purchase in part with non-recourse loans, showing that non-recourse mortgages are still viable financing options within the self-storage market. Non-recourse loans are preferable to recourse debt when it is possible to obtain them. The debt financing, which was set up by Tavernier Capital Partners, came from a life insurance company.

The equity financing for the deal came from EBS' private investor pool and from the EBS Income Fund III, which was recently closed. The fact that EBS was able to arrange privately placed equity financing in addition to its mortgages shows that investors consider self-storage facilities to be strong, viable, low-risk businesses in which to invest. [More]

Extra Space Chairman Spencer Kirk Speaks at Wells Fargo Conference

by Tony Gonzalez December 22, 2009 11:15 AM
Extra Space Storage Chairman and CEO Spencer F. Kirk addressed the Wells Fargo 13th Annual Real Estate Securities Conference in New York City last Wednesday. The conference, which was broadcast live over the Internet, was held at the Waldorf-Astoria. An audio file and transcript of the webcast, and the power point presentation that Kirk put together to go with it, can be found online at Extra Space's website.

Kirk gave an overview of Extra Space's performance compared to other public companies. While acknowledging that the recession has hit the self-storage industry, just as it has hit other industries, Kirk noted that "There was a thesis for many years that storage was recession-proof. It is not. Storage is recession-resistant." Kirk continued, "All public companies have gone negative, but the degree to which storage has gone negative is remarkable....we believe that storage as a sector was perhaps last into the recession and we believe that storage as a sector will be amongst the first out of the recession....Extra Space believes that we are going to lead the way." Extra Space, Kirk pointed out, has significantly outperformed other storage companies for 2009. He attributed Extra Space's success to the high tech people it hires, the quality and locations of its properties, and the sensible processes and practices that it uses to, for example, make real-time, web-based data available for all of its facilities. [More]

Santa Rents Self-Storage Unit to Store Extra Toys Until Christmas Eve

by John Stevens December 21, 2009 11:45 AM
According to the owners of Forbes Storage in North Pole, Alaska, Santa rented a self-storage unit at their facility on December 10 to store extra toys until Christmas Eve. Forbes owners Buzz Otis and Renee Webb Otis say that a man going by the name of Kris Kringle appeared at their facility after hours and used their Insomniac kiosk to rent a self-storage unit. They have posted a copy of Kringle's rental agreement, which is signed "Santa Claus," online. The rental agreement includes an off-season address in Anaheim, California, along with home, work, and cell phone numbers for Santa, in case self storage operators need to reach Santa after the holiday season.

"You can imagine our excitement when we reviewed our INSOMNIAC reports and saw Santa had rented a unit using our kiosk," Buzz commented. "It feels good to know we were able to help him when he needed it most." [More]

Wine Collectors Heat Up Singapore Self Storage Market

by Kim Kilpatrick December 21, 2009 10:11 AM
....Invista has received a $42.7 million investment from an American institutional investor, which it plans to invest in Big Orange. The new investment in Big Orange shows investor confidence in the Asian self storage market, which is beginning to heat up....Big Orange was established in 2006 to focus on the Asian self storage market. Many self storage investors are finding the Singapore market to be robust. In November, Hersing Corporation of Singapore, which owns the first self storage facility to open in Singapore (StorHub), reported that its 2009 third quarter profits were quadrupled over its profits from the third quarter of 2008. Not all of Hersing's profits came from StorHub -- many came from the Asia-Pacific branch of ERA Real Estate, which saw a 58 percent revenue increase during the same period -- but Hersing noted that the StorHub Self Storage business had proven to be very recession-resilient....

In Singapore, the demand for self storage is in large part driven by the demand for specialty storage such as wine cellars.... [More]

North Carolina Self Storage Owners Fight New Sales Tax Initiative

by John Stevens December 18, 2009 9:00 AM
North Carolina's state House and Senate Finance Committees are taking a careful look at overhauling the state's sales tax code....According to the North Carolina Self Storage Association, the tax reform being considered by the NC legislature would place a four percent sales tax on self storage. Legislators argue that self storage owners will not be harmed by the tax, because people will be paying less in sales tax on other products and services. But the North Carolina Self Storage Association disagrees. Its owners and operators are fighting the new tax, arguing that the occupancy rates in North Carolina self storage units have been falling because of the recession, and that the sales tax would cause rates to fall even further. The NCSSA further argues that other sectors of the real estate market would not be subject to a sales tax....

In addition, the NCSSA argues, 90 percent of self storage operators are small business owners. The new tax reform legislation, if passed, will place the burden on small business owners to collect and pay a new tax to the state, one that will require them to raise their rates and to explain to tenants that rates are being raised. The tax legislation will also immediately reduce the value of self storage facilities by imposing an additional expense -- which will make it harder to sell self service businesses in North Carolina. [More]

Use Self Storage to Minimize Holiday Moving Stress

by Kim Kilpatrick December 18, 2009 8:11 AM
The holidays are the last time of the year that most people want to move. Holiday stress is bad enough without adding moving stress to the equation. If you have to move over the holidays, though, there are ways to make the experience less stressful. Moving companies have begun to advise their clients who move at this time of the year to use self-storage as a way to minimize moving stress at this time of the year.

The basic idea behind reducing the stress of a move is to spread the move out over a longer period, if you can. One way to do this is to move anything that you do not need daily access to into storage. These items might include: seasonal clothing and decorations (things you will need in the spring, summer or fall, but not now), books that you do not need to consult regularly, CDs and DVDs that you do not anticipate needing right away, family photos and document archives, extra linens, outdoor furniture and outdoor toys, dishes that you save for special occasions, materials for craft projects and hobbies that you do not have time to work on while you are in the middle of moving, etc. Moving some items into storage has several advantages: [More]

Real Estate Investors Plan to Double Acquisition of Self-Storage Properties

by Winnie Hsiu December 17, 2009 11:09 AM
Earlier this month, real estate investment group Equity Based Services, Inc., announced that it is acquiring a new self-storage facility, Advantage Self Storage (now to be called American Mini Storage) in Plano, Texas....The Advantage acquisition ushers in a new policy for EBS, one of aggressively acquiring new self-storage properties. EBS and other real estate investors have found that the economic climate currently is very favorable for buying self-storage. EBS, which currently owns and operates 64 self-storage properties in 11 states, plans to double its self-storage acquisitions over the next year. [More]

Residents Fighting Self Storage near Escondido,California

by Holly Robinson December 17, 2009 8:49 AM
Residents of a small community near Escondido, California (near San Diego) are fighting against the development and building of a small self-storage facility in their neighborhood....Residents say that while they do not have anything against self storage per se, they fear that this development will be the first step in changing the whole region from a bucolic rural haven into a colorless commercial artery. They do not want to see the area lose its rural flavor....However, PacVentures' representative, Bill Hofman, told officials at Monday's community meeting that the company has changed the design for the self storage facility to make it more compatible with the neighborhood. The design now includes more landscaping on the site's four acres, sound walls, and a small decrease in square footage. Hofman said that the facility was being modified to make it look more like a gated residential community....

Coincidentally, Bear Valley Rural Neighbors was originally formed in July 1999 to fight a plan to build a small shopping mall in the area. The group sued the city to stop it from running sewer lines out to the intersection for the shopping plaza. The group won the lawsuit, and the city was ordered to pay the group's legal fees. Later, it also defeated the North County Baptist Church of Escondido, stopping it from building a 13-acre complex nearby, and the Escondido Charter High School, preventing it from building a campus at the intersection. [More]
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