Sophisticated self storage development goes ahead in Tokai

SA Self Storage Investments (“SASSI”), the fastest growing self storage company in South Africa today (and destined to be the biggest by mid-2011), is developing a new R40 million state-of-the-art facility on a strategic site at Tokai.

This project is a joint venture between SASSI, Faircape, Acucap and Nedbank Corporate Property Finance (Cape). Faircape are handling the construction.

SASSI is a self storage investment and development company, investing solely in self storage based property investments throughout South Africa. All stores developed by SASSI are then managed by its partner and well known brand Stor-Age Self Storage (“Stor-Age”), a dedicated self storage management company.

Steven Horton, a SASSI director, said that “without a shadow of doubt” the new facility will be the most advanced of its kind in South Africa. Its features and services, he said, include all the best attributes of similar facilities in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia, many of which were visited by SASSI’s directors in recent years.

Although the new building, designed by Peerutin Architects, will be concrete framed and have a brick infill, it will be fully cladded in pillar-box red sheet metal (Stor-Age’s corporate colour). This, said Horton, is guaranteed to make it stand out and be noticed. Other upmarket facilities on site will include a large retail store from which clients will be able to buy a wide range of ancillary products for storing their goods such as locks, boxes, bubble wrap, tape, mattress covers and the like.

Also on site will be a business centre providing scan, copy, fax and email facilities for individuals and small businesses operating within the SME sector.

The new building, said Horton, will be on a 5,000m2 site in a highly visible position in White Road close to the Blue Route Mall. It will have over 400 self storage units in all and these will vary in size from 3m2 to 30m2. This will be the first multi-storey (triple) purpose built self storage facility in South Africa.

“Clients will park undercover in designated loading bay areas and access their storage units by way of a trolley system. Movement between floors is facilitated by large heavy duty lifts.”

The whole modus operandum will conform to the systems already proved successful by Stor-Age and other South African self storage companies. This means that the customer will store and pack his own goods. He will also lock his unit and hold the key in his possession. One of the big advantages of a multi-storey building is that the clients arrive and unpack in an environment that is fully protected from the weather.

This way of working, said Horton, ensures maximum security not only for the goods but also for the clients who are able to get access 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to their units and, while there, are protected by electric fencing, CCTV, manned entrance gates with validated entry and access systems and armed patrols.

“It is absolutely essential in offering a service of this kind that all customers, but particularly women, feel completely safe no matter what time of the day or night they are accessing their units. Security is the defining feature at all of our stores,” said Horton.

Right now SASSI has five new self storage facilities either under construction or in the final planning phases throughout South Africa. These will complement its two already operational facilities, namely Stor-Age (Edgemead) and Stor-Age (City Vault), located near the M5 Office Park in Maitland.

All Stor-Age facilities, said Horton, are in high profile locations close to major residential and commercial nodes with good access from busy arterial routes. In Cape Town, he added, about 70% of the company’s clients are “domestic”. Domestic users fall into two key user segments, “event driven” and “lifestyle choice”.

“Whenever there is a life changing event, such as a house move, death, divorce, someone leaving home or losing their job, or building alterations being completed at the home, there is a natural demand for the self storage product,” said Horton.

“Lifestyle users use self storage as a back-up to their lifestyle and view their self storage unit as an extension of their home, e.g. for storing excess furniture, seasonal sporting goods, camping equipment, seasonal decorations and even motor cars. Self storage is a great way to “de-clutter” one’s home and lifestyle, by giving the individual the opportunity to store those items that they want to retain but do not necessarily use everyday at a location which is convenient to use and easy to access.

“On the commercial side,” he said, “clients range from corporates storing documents and files to the SME sector where many of the users are either small, self-employed traders and artisans or self employed professionals such as medical reps, doctors, attorneys, accountants, engineers, IT professionals who are storing their stock, records or materials. Very often the SME sector often has very limited space at their base premises and, in fact, are often working from home. The month to month leasing option provided at Stor-Age is flexible and ensures that the small business does not have to enter into expensive, contractually bound long term commercial property leases of three to five years and beyond.

Stor-Age (Tokai) is scheduled to open its doors to the public in October 2009.

Article by: www.saselfstorageinvestments.com