Mako Steel Blog

Building Self Storage - The "Cost" Question...

Posted by Tinie Tao on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 @ 11:07 AM

Over the last 11 years, I've had the opportunity to talk with several hundred "would-be developers" about the process of developing a self storage project.  The first and most important question is always, "How much does it cost to build Self Storage?"

It's a great question, but due to the changes that have taken place over the last decade with both design and demand, and zoning restrictions, it's tough to answer without having first asked a few other great questions.

Self Storage Construction typically follows a fairly linear path.  Locate a property, complete a market analysis, create a construction budget and ROI, purchase, entitle the property, pull building permits, build.

It seems so simple.  

While Self Storage Construction remains one of the most straightforward types of commercial development.  It is also a niche market, and one that does not have the attention or necessarily the support of the vast majority of the officials you will meet on your way to pulling permits. 

There are two drivers in the early stages of planning that will dictate how much it costs to build self storage.  The first is cost vs. demand and propensity to rent and the second being the cost associated with getting site plan approval and permits and the steps the city / planning agencies will make you take to acheive that (i.e. aesthetics, landscaping, off-site improvement, etc.)  A few questions to ask yourself:  Is your property in a market that supports Multi-Story or Climate Control?  Is it a market where demand for single story drive up units is more prevelant?  Is the property a "use by right" ?  Is Self Storage an acceptable use for the parcel?  

Answering the Single Story vs. Multi-Story Question is the first step in setting adequate budgets for Self Storage Construction.  While costs for Single Story construction typically range from $25-$40 psf, Multi-Story projects have a larger variable and can range from $42 psf to as much as $70 psf.  Land costs, Site Approval, The degree of Architectural involvement, construction material costs, Site Improvement costs, are all variables that can impact a Construction project. 

It starts to become pretty clear, that while there are no cut and dry answers to the "cost" question - there are a few clear paths to follow to find the answers.

Self Storage Construction is not Rocket Science.  It is, as mentioned, a niche product. Fortunately for the novice, there is a deep pool of experts that can help you at any stage of your development.  If you are new to the development process, my advice would be to utilize those resources. The Self Storage Industry boasts some of the friendliest and knowledgeable people I've encountered.  After more than a decade in the industry, I've learned many things about Self Storage.  Aside from it being a great investment if developed correctly, I've also learned that becoming part of this industry puts you in very good company.  


-Angie M. Guerin, National Sales Manager - Mako Steel Inc. (800) 383-4932


 P.S.  In the "spirit" of such a friendly industry, we too, would love to answer any questions you might have about Self Storage Development or Construction.  Please call us anytime to discuss (800) 383-4932.

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Tags: self storage construction