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08 Nov 2022

How Much Land Do I Need To Build A Self-Storage Facility?


Marc Goodin


There are a variety of land parcel size options depending on your goals and cash equity. Below are multiple options to build an 80,000 gross sf = 64,000 net rentable sf facility. This assumes the goal is to have a lifestyle business (lucrative income - job replacement income from a single facility without a full-time self-storage job) Purchasing multiple smaller existing facilities may provide additional options. See the Storage Authority Express for details.

Remember these are estimated averages so there may be of sites where you may need more or less land depending on multiple factors. So, it is very important that both the land feature investigation and the zoning regulations review are part of your initial review of the property. The acres provided assume all land is usable with no restrictive zoning regulations. And the land is generally square in shape (475’ x 550’ not 300’ x 870’).

The acreage provided in all cases is the amount of usable acreage: Usable = no wetland on site, no easements, no 100-year floodplain, and no steep slope. No restrictive impervious lot coverage limits and no restrictive zoning requirements or setbacks (ie close to the norm: 20 foot side yards and 50-foot front & rear yards). It also assumes city water and city sewer.

As you consider these options you must consider multi-story typically cost more to build than a single story and rents for less than a single story per sf. And often the acreage of a given site is not all usable acres.

6+ Usable Acres:
This is the most common Storage Authority Model
Multiple Single Story Buildings on a single site with both non-climate control and climate control.
Can be built in 1 or more phases.
Many 6 acres sites may not have usable 6 acres without restrictive regulations and why many 80,000 gross sf facilities will be located on 7 plus acres.

One zoning regulation that can have a significant impact on the land area required is the Impervious lot coverage. If the impervious lot coverage (max percentage of building and paving lot coverage) is 25 percent for example you may need closer to 10 acres for an 80,000 sf facility.)

Restrictive stormwater renovation and detention requirements can add 0.5 to.75 acres to the land acreage required. Or if the detention is regional and you do not need to provide on your site you can reduce the acreage by 0.75 acres.

4.5+ Usable Acres:
One single-story building, mostly climate control.
Can be built in 1 or 2 phases but there will be an extra cost for 2 phases because often pavement in phase 1 will need to be removed in phase 2

4+ Usable Acres:
Phase 1 is one or multiple single-story buildings and phase 2 is one multi-story building.
Can be built in 1 or 2 phases.

2+ Usable Acres:
3 story facility single phase
May be 1.5 acres if no side yards and or no storm drainage detention is required.

Given all the combinations of design parameters and landmines, including many not mentioned here, it is important you review every parcel of land in detail with your entire team, starting with your civil engineer and architect.

The above are starting guidelines. There will be instances where more or less acreage is required. If you have the acreage noted above and other minimum site parameters including price, demand, street view, traffic, access, zoned for self-storage, city water and sewer, etc it is time for your engineer and architect to prepare an initial regulation review and prepared a draft concept plan to meet with the City to review. And then if all goes well it will be time to prepare and submit your purchase offer Letter Of Intent. (LOI).

Get more information on Storage Authority Franchise at www.storageauthorityfranchise.com

Marc Goodin is President of Storage Authority Franchising. www.storageauthorityfranchise.com He owns 3 self storages he designed, built and manages. He has been helping others in the self storage industry for over 25 years. He can be reached at marc@StorageAuthority.com or directly at 860-830-6764 to answer your franchising, development, marketing, sales, and operations questions. His best-selling self-storage books are available at Amazon.

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