Contributing Editors



American Spectrum Realty Acquires Evergreen's Self Storage Properties

by Holly Robinson January 21, 2010 4:48 AM
American Spectrum Realty, a real estate investment and management company, announced Tuesday that it has acquired 74 property management and asset management contracts (representing 80 separate assets) from Evergreen Realty Group. The interests in real estate that were acquired by American Spectrum represent Evergreen's interest in properties connected with the contracts that were acquired. The contracts include a number of self-storage facilities, with a total of 12,098 self-storage units making up 1,793,881 square feet of storage space. American Spectrum has been negotiating the acquisition with Evergreen for more than a month (its original Purchase Agreement was dated Dec. 17, and the deal closed on Jan. 19). [More]

Tuck-It-Away Self Storage Continues Fight Against Columbia University

by Winnie Hsiu January 20, 2010 4:57 PM
Nicholas Sprayregen, the owner of Tuck-It-Away self storage in Harlem, has been fighting Columbia University since 2004, when Columbia announced that it wanted to expand into the space where four of his self-storage facilities are located. The university at first tried to buy the properties from Sprayregen, but he refused. "Before long, the offer changed," explains Sprayregen. "'If you don't sell, you'll face condemnation.' I looked on that as offensive, coming from an institution as large and powerful as Columbia." Sprayregen tried to swap land with the university instead, offering to trade his Tuck-It-Away buildings on one side of Broadway for some parcels of Columbia's property on the other side of the street. The university did not agree.

Then Columbia tried to annex the property using the power of eminent domain, in which a public entity can force private property owners to sell their property so that the space can be used for the good of the public. Sprayregen decided to fight back. He filed a lawsuit in January 2009, not expecting to win. He lost his case in the Court of Appeals in November. But then the case moved to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, and Sprayregen, who says that Tuck-It-Away has so far spent $2 million in the fight against the Columbia expansion, won....This month, Sprayregen continued the battle at a public hearing in Harlem. Speakers on both sides of the issue attended. Sprayregen has hired Norman Siegel, a former New York Civil Liberties Union executive director, to represent Tuck-It-Away. Siegel called eminent domain reform "the civil rights issue of the 21st century." [More]

Safe and Secure Self Storage Hosts 4th and 5th Grade Technology Tour

by Holly Robinson January 20, 2010 12:33 PM
Safe and Secure Automated Self Storage, which received a Green Building of America Award from Real Estate & Construction Review magazine last summer, has begun hosting technology tours for students. Safe and Secure has been open for business less than one year -- it opened in April 2009, becoming the first self-storage facility in the U.S. to make use of Westfalia's Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems technology. But its facility won the Green Building award because of its many energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly features. Safe and Secure has water-efficient landscaping, low power consumption (an especially noteworthy feat given that it relies on automated technology), pressurization to reduce energy loss, reduced waste production, improved air quality, and green cleaning and pest control. Safe and Secure underwent these measures in order to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a green building.

Safe and Secure's first student tour was held the week of December 7 - 11, for 15 different classes of fourth and fifth graders from Tradewinds Elementary School in Broward County, Florida. The students met Paul Talley, the inventor of the patent-pending Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems technology. Talley is also the vice president of Automation for Automated Self Storage Systems. Students learned about the automated self-storage system and how it works, the LEED certification process that allows a facility to say that it is certified as green, and the process that Safe and Secure went through in order to receive the Green Building of America award. [More]

Romania's First Self-Storage Facility

by Tony Gonzalez January 19, 2010 2:43 AM
Yesterday, in Bucharest, EuroMiniStorage opened the doors for Romania's first and only self-storage facility. The new facility represents an eight-million-euro investment by Canadian investors. In U.S. dollars, in January 2010, that comes out to $11,491,533.24.

Construction of the new facility began in August 2008. The building, which was designed for self-storage by Shurgard, a European consulting company specializing in self-storage, received its operating permit two months ago, in November 2009. [More]

Texas Self-Storage Facility Caught in the Middle of Development Dispute

by John Stevens January 19, 2010 2:09 AM
The managers of American Self Storage, in Harlingen, Texas, are worried about the drainage ditch that adjoins their property. The ditch runs north and south off Tyler, the same street that American is located on. The problem is that the ditch is full of grass and may not drain properly in the event of a flood. (Harlingen is located next to the Rio Grande.)

Experts agree with American Self Storage's managers that the ditch needs to be cleaned. They just can't agree on who should do it: the city or the irrigation district. While the issue of a dirty ditch may seem minor, it illustrates the turf wars that can occur between local government departments when previously rural land becomes more developed and is used in different ways than it was when originally zoned. [More]

U.S. Rental Furniture Company Partners with Columbian Firm

by Kim Kilpatrick January 18, 2010 1:27 PM
CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company providing relocation services throughout the United States and more than 50 other countries, has announced that it has added a new partner, SC Rentamuebles, which is based in Bogota, Colombia. CORT was responding to a growing demand for furniture rentals in Bogota, a thriving city of eight million which has grown to include many branch offices for multinational corporations.

For nearly 40 years, CORT has been providing rental furniture to corporate employees who have been temporarily relocated. It has partners in more than 50 countries. SC Rentamuebles is a family-run business founded 13 years ago by Susana Camacho. Now the company has 18 employees and is run by Camacho's daughter, Paula Santamaria. SC Rentamuebles brings many clients of its own to the partnership, including multinational companies, embassies, and film industry clients (for which it provides by-the-day furniture leases for temporary film sets). SC Rentamuebles can provide its clients with indoor and outdoor furniture, appliances, kitchenware, linens, and other accessories. [More]

Maine Self Storage Company Makes Use of Federal Stimulus Funds

by Winnie Hsiu January 18, 2010 10:19 AM
Running Hill Self Storage, of Scarborough, Maine, is expanding its business using federal stimulus money. The federal money came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, which assisted Running Hill in getting its loan from Northeast Bank. The loan was for $2.2 million, and Running Hill will use it to construct a new self-storage complex. The new complex will employ 60 people.

The money for the B&I program was allocated by Congress last February, when it passed the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. [More]

NAREIT Expands Outreach with New Website and Magazine

by Holly Robinson January 14, 2010 2:37 PM
The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) has expanded its outreach to members in 2010, beginning with the introduction of a new website and the decision to replace its award-winning flagship publication, Real Estate Portfolio, with a new bi-monthly publication, REIT: Real Estate Investment Today. The content of the new magazine will be integrated with the content that is available on the website.

NAREIT's members include REITs in the United States and worldwide. Its membership also includes people and businesses that advise, study, consult with, or provide services to REITs. NAREIT's new website is designed to be the Internet's home for "all things REIT." The website's intended audience includes anyone with an interest in or association with REITS, such as investors, real estate professionals, reporters, and policy-makers. The content of the website is searchable. [More]

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Red Deer, Alberta Museum Seeks Storage Space

by John Stevens January 14, 2010 10:32 AM
Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, in Alberta, Canada, has had about $1.5 million in renovations in the last year. In one spot, the renovations increased the museum's exhibition area by 10,000 square feet. The renovations also improved the museum's washrooms and office areas. But the renovations did nothing to address the museum's other critical need: storage space for its archives.

"Our first priority was to improve our service to the public," explained the museum's executive director, Lorna Johnson. "That's what the renovation has allowed us to do.....It didn't address collection storage for either the museum or the archives." Johnson said the museum still needs about 20,000 square feet of space for archival storage. The storage will have to be off-site, but it must also be secure and climate-controlled. At the moment, the museum is hoping to find a storage space to share with city archives, Red Deer College, and other art organizations, all of which are also in need of storage. "If we can all get together to build one structure, that isn't so expensive," Johnson commented. The city has also considered building a new museum, but does not expect to have a budget for a project of that magnitude for many years. The museum is also struggling with budget cuts, as its 2010 budget (nearly $882,000) has been reduced by 1.3 percent from its 2009 budget ($894,000). [More]

Self-Storage Managers Redouble Focus on Safety after SLC Fire

by Kim Kilpatrick January 13, 2010 9:48 AM
A renter at Highland Self Storage, in Salt Lake City, Utah accidentally started a fire at the facility on Dec. 29, when he spilled the gasoline he was draining from his motorcycle near a portable heater, which ignited the fuel. The fire quickly got out of control, spreading to wood trusses, engulfing the man's truck, and then igniting other units. The man ran to tell Highland's manager and staff members, but by then there was nothing they could do. Firefighters quickly arrived to combat the two-alarm fire, which damaged approximately 20 self-storage units.... [More]
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