Manager of the Year talks delinquencies, marketing and difficult customers

Last month, Allen Baxter of A+ Storage of Tennessee, property manager for the Nolensville, Tenn., location, was named 2016 Manager of the Year by the Tennessee Self Storage Association.

Baxter has been a property manager with A+ Storage for over 5 years and has received several awards including the A+ Storage Manager of the Year twice. In a Q-and-A with Josh Flory, of NAI Koella Moore, Baxter talked about his success at reducing delinquencies, new strategies for marketing and his most challenging customer interaction.

How did you get into the storage business?
I was looking for a job in the management area and found the ad on Craigslist. I grew up in Nolensville so I thought, ‘Hey, it’s perfect. A job in the town I grew up in.’ I had no clue about the storage business but I’ve learned a lot over the last five years and continued to grow and love the industry.

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Middle Tennessee self storage facility moving forward

The Nashville Post reports that a $10 million self storage project in Germantown will go before Metro planners in April.

Nashville-based Mark Tarver, president of Tarver Properties, is teaming with Jewell Hale and Bobby Kirby on the project. The six-story mixed-use building will offer 90,000 square feet of self-storage and 6,500 square feet of retail and have an address of 1232 Third Ave. North.

For more details, read the full story here.

Maynardville self-storage facility sold

A 120-unit self-storage property in Maynardville, Tenn., has been sold for $505,000.

County Line Storage is a 120-unit facility at 211 Maynardville Highway. New owner Jay Gulledge, of Knoxville, said the deal also included a 1,500-square-foot office-warehouse that is leased to the former owner for a separate business.

“They were planning to vacate, but one of my biggest concerns was being able to lease out that building,” Gulledge said. “I got them to agree to a one-year lease to get the cap rate up.”

The self-storage units are currently 80 percent occupied, but Gulledge is hoping to boost the occupancy over the coming months.

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TNSSA panelists discuss the ins-and-outs of self-storage marketing

Allen Baxter, Grace Anderson and Alan Washburn listen as TNSSA director Melissa Roberts introduces the panel discussion.

From guerrilla tactics to Google AdWords, marketing was the topic du jour at Tuesday’s 1st Quarter luncheon of the Tennessee Self Storage Association.

During a panel discussion at The Chattanoogan, attendees heard from Allen Baxter, a manager with A Plus Storage in Nolensville; Grace Anderson, of Absolute Storage Management; and Alan Washburn, who owns four storage properties in Tennessee.

While many self storage owners focus on customers who are going through life changes, Washburn pointed out that it’s also helpful to focus marketing efforts on the service providers who are involved in those changes. Among other things, his company places ads in the offices of divorce attorneys and builds relationships with homeowners associations.

“Most people don’t like HOA’s, but we love them because they don’t let (residents) store stuff,” he said.

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Two self-storage projects taking shape in Lenoir City

By Josh Flory

A veteran operator and a newcomer to the industry have targeted the same stretch of Highway 321, in Lenoir City, for new storage facilities.

Volunteer Storage, which has six properties in East Tennessee, is converting the former Great Wakes boat dealership into climate-controlled storage units and outdoor storage spaces.

Buddy Brackfield of Brackfield and Associates, which owns Volunteer Storage, said the project will include 80 inside storage units, more than 100 outside spaces for campers, boats and RVs, plus 3,200 square feet of inside storage for boats and vehicles. The facility, which is nearing completion, will also include an indoor wash bay and more than a dozen security cameras, and will be accessible to customers 24 hours a day.

Brackfield said his team tore out approximately 9,000 square feet of finished space in the building, converting offices and kitchen space to storage cubicles, but said they didn’t disturb any of the property’s firewalls.

He said the facility will not only serve the Loudon County market but is also convenient to Farragut and West Knoxville. “Obviously the growth for Lenoir City is northbound,” he added, “and we’re on the northbound side of (I-40). We’ve got easy access across 321, and so it makes good sense … where we are for this location.” Continue reading

Friday self-storage roundup

ICYMI, self-storage projects in Nashville and Greeneville made headlines earlier this month.

The Nashville Post reported that an eight-story facility that was planned in SoBro will not move forward.

Meanwhile, the Greeneville Sun reported that town planners have signed off on a project on Emory Road.

On a national level, Globe Street featured a Q-and-A with Mark Whitehead, who discussed his firm’s effort to integrate self-storage with residential development.

Chattanooga retail space being converted to self-storage

Bernard Frogel

Earlier this month, the Times Free Press reported that a former Big Lots store in Brainerd will be converted to a storage facility with more than 250 units.

Tennessee Storage Broker’s Josh Flory, of NAI Knoxville, asked developer Bernard Frogel about the project in an email Q-and-A.

JF: You’re converting a former Big Lots store to self-storage – what factors led you to make that decision?
Frogel: The property is located across from the Chattanooga airport. The airport authority has purchased most of the property along Brainerd Road for future expansion of the airport and the construction of a business park and has demolished the buildings used by the former retail occupants of this property. As this area is changing from retail to industrial, the self-storage concept looked like a feasible option.

JF: In addition to converting the existing 50,000-square-foot building, you’re doubling the size of the facility. What convinced you that there’s enough demand for a project with more than 100,000 square feet of storage space?
Frogel: We had a market survey of the demand for self storage and this resulted in our move in that direction.

JF: Was there anything about this particular retail shell that made it ideal for a storage conversion?
Frogel: The building was over 30 years old but in excellent structural condition, and with over 9.5 acres of land this made for an easy storage conversion. Continue reading

REIT buys 11 self-storage facilities in Asheville, NC area

A California REIT has purchased a portfolio of 11 self-storage facilities in Western North Carolina for more than $92 million.

Strategic Storage Trust II, which is sponsored by SmartStop Asset Management LLC, closed the deal on December 30. It included approximately 4,850 units.

“Collectively, these 11 properties have averaged an overall occupancy of 95% during 2016 and require little capital expenditure,” H. Michael Schwartz, chairman and CEO of SST II, said in a news release. “The dynamics of this portfolio are a great balance to our existing self storage facilities located throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

In addition, Strategic Storage Growth Trust — which is also sponsored by SmartStop Asset Management — announced this month that it has acquired a vacant industrial building in Asheville that will be converted to 650 units of climate-controlled and drive-up storage.

 

Knoxville self-storage sector sees two deals in November

A pair of self-storage deals in November helped the Knoxville market end 2016 on a high note.

Aaron Super Storage, at 6626 Asheville Highway, was sold for $3,875,000, while a portfolio of eight facilities that included 415,616 square feet of storage space was sold by Storage Pros Management LLC. The Storage Pros transaction totaled more than $34 million.

2016 was also a strong year for development activity. New projects in the pipeline include a multi-story facility at the corner of Middlebrook Pike and Joe Hinton Road, and a facility at the intersection of Pellissippi Parkway and Hardin Valley Road.

For a market report that summarizes 2016 activity, contact Josh Flory at 865.253.0896.