Contributing Editors

New Tax Rules: 1099s to Vendors, 1099s from Tenants

by Winnie Hsiu May 10, 2010 1:42 AM
Journalists combing through the fine print of the new health care reform bill have found a provision that requires business owners to issue 1099 forms, not only to contract workers, but also to any individual or business from whom they purchase more than $600 worth of goods or services. The provision is buried in Section 9006(b)(1), taking up 170 words out of the new health care reform law. The new law is about 2,500 pages long and has a total of about 400,000 words -- most readers did not notice the 1099 provision the first time they read the bill. [More]

Alabama Facility Offers Free Storage to Domestic Violence Survivors

by Holly Robinson May 3, 2010 8:52 AM
SmithStoreit, a self storage facility in Huntsville, Alabama, announced Friday that it will donate 30 units to local survivors of domestic violence. Each unit will be used to provide three months of free storage at a time for a domestic violence survivor. Storage can be an important part of a battered woman's escape plan for leaving a dangerous relationship. Often, women plan their departures for months before they actually leave an abusive partner. They may need to slowly and gradually accumulate possessions in a storage unit, so that when the time comes, they can leave quickly without having to pack.

Self storage units are not expensive, but domestic violence survivors often fear retaliation from their former partners. They may need to know that they are not creating a paper trail (in the form of bills or credit card statements) that could lead abusive ex-partners to find them. Moreover, in many cases survivors of domestic violence cannot afford even the small monthly rental fee for a self storage unit. Having a free self storage unit solves these problems. Using a storage unit also means that survivors need not impose on family and friends, which can be important -- survivors may not want to be traced through family and friends, and also may be concerned about the possibility of placing family and friends at risk. [More]

CA Self Storage Unit Used to Hide Base of Cell Phone Tower

by Winnie Hsiu April 28, 2010 10:32 AM
Last night, the community of Brentwood, California approved AT&T's planned construction of a cell phone tower in a self storage facility in a commercial park. The base of the tower will be located inside a storage unit at TownCentre Self Storage, and the top of the tower will be disguised as a fake pine tree. The choice to put the tower inside a self storage unit and to make it look like a pine tree were meant to allay concerns that some neighboring business owners had about the aesthetic appearance of the tower. [More]

Self Storage Facility Zoning Change Approved Based on Lower Parking Needs

by Winnie Hsiu April 23, 2010 11:17 AM
A California community has approved the conversion of an office building into a self storage facility based in part on the lower parking needs of the self storage facility compared to the amount of parking that would have been needed for office use. The Planning Commission of Capitola, California, had initially recommended against amending the city code to allow self storage in a community commercial zone, hoping that it would be possible to encourage retailers to make use of the space. Ultimately, though, council members at last night's Capitola City Council meeting decided the matter based on traffic flow, parking and lighting issues, rather than focusing on how the space would be used. [More]

Spring Self Storage Construction Business Booming

by Holly Robinson April 15, 2010 2:40 PM
The self storage construction business is booming in the U.S. this spring and summer. Some businesses are expanding, while others are being built from the ground up. The projects that are underway include:

Chester Heights Self-Storage Center, in Chester Heights, PA

The owners of the soon-to-be-opened Chester Heights Self-Storage Center, in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, had intended to open their facility last winter. Instead, they will be opening this spring or summer, after ironing out a few last construction problems. The facility failed its water pressure test at the end of March, and will have to re-excavate the line to find a possible leak. In addition, the electrical conduit had to be moved to a new location, farther from the sprinkler system. And paving, fencing, and curb installation have yet to take place. [More]

Wine Storage Competitors Work Together in Shipping Venture

by Tony Gonzalez April 13, 2010 9:12 AM
Two Sonoma County, California wine storage warehouses have announced that they will collaborate this spring on a direct-to-consumer shipping venture. The two entrepreneurs, Chuck Holmes of Adobe Creek Wine & Storage in Petaluma, and Mark Burris, of Redwood Empire Wine Storage and Eagle Transportation in Santa Rosa, are old friends. Adobe Creek Wine & Storage and Redwood Empire Wine Storage, between them, provide storage to more than 150 local wineries. The new collaboration will make it possible for those wineries to save money by taking advantage of the partnership between the two facilities.

Prior to the Adobe Creek/Redwood Empire partnership, wineries shipped their wine by truck from warehouses to fulfillment houses, where it would have to be inventoried and then repacked for shipment to consumers or to commercial customers. Now, Eagle Transportation (the trucking company affiliated with Redwood Empire Wine Storage) will move cases of wine straight from Redwood to Adobe Creek, where it can be repacked into packages with fewer bottles for club shipments and orders. [More]

Real Estate Investors Snapping Up Self Storage Deals

by Tony Gonzalez April 1, 2010 4:31 PM
Several self storage real estate transactions have been in the news this week as the market for self storage facilities steadily improves.

Highway 79 Super Storage of Temecula, California, was sold this week for 93 percent of its asking price. The final sale, which was brokered by Marcus & Millichap, was for seven million dollars. The buyers and sellers were represented by Nick Walker and Michelle Watson, of Marcus & Millichap’s National Self Storage Group, and by Jake Steele and Andy Glinski, from its Special Assets Group. [More]

Boat, RV Storage Rules Changing in Some Cities

by Holly Robinson March 23, 2010 4:01 PM
If you need to store a boat or an RV, it is wise to check with your municipality to find out the most current rules on boat or RV storage. In some cities across the nation, city councils and village trustees are changing the rules. Many self-storage facilities will accept vehicles for storage, giving boat and RV owners another option if they live in an area that prohibits outdoor storage of large vehicles. [More]

Self-Storage Zoning Laws Changing Across U.S.

by Holly Robinson March 11, 2010 5:12 PM
Many towns in rural and suburban America are changing their zoning laws to make it possible for new self-storage businesses to be constructed. Recent changes in zoning laws that affect self-storage firms include the following:

In Richardson, Texas, the City Council changed the zoning laws to allow for "temporary" self-storage businesses in some commercial districts. The council classified this use of city land as a "secondary use" and proceeded to approve a special permit for one such business, to be located in a local shopping center. In Richardson, to meet the new zoning requirements, a self-storage business may not take up one whole building -- it must be less than half the total size of the building it is located in, and, no matter what size the building is, the self-storage business may take up no more than 20,000 square feet. [More]

Overland Self Storage Owners Disappear Amidst Foreclosure Proceedings

by Winnie Hsiu February 12, 2010 5:42 PM
Tenants who stopped by Overland Self Storage, in Morgan Hill, California, were startled this week to find that Overland's normal security gate had been disabled and that the facility was apparently being foreclosed on by a lender. Overland had a steel gate that was usually kept closed and locked, and could only be opened by customers or staff members who knew the electronic code. But this Tuesday, it was locked open instead of closed. Renters who went in to check on their self-storage units found that nobody was in the office, and instead a sign taped to the door read, "Closed! This is now the bank's property." The note did not say which bank now owns Overland, and did not list any contact information. In one exterior wall, a space that once held a window is now covered with a loose piece of plywood. Signs on the building's remaining windows said that the building is now "for lease." Overland's listed phone number is out of service. [More]
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