A Greenville, S.C.-based developer is bringing a new concept in self-storage facilities to Wichita.
Construction has started on three new buildings that are designed to look more like retail centers instead of the traditional, gated self-storage facilities Wichita is used to.
And each of the three-story, climate-controlled buildings is going up in areas of town focused on retail and residential — one west and two on the east side.
“Storage has always been a product that’s always been in industrial-type settings, no areas that are convenient to the customers,” says Brody Glenn, president of the South Carolina development group called Centennial American Properties.
The new concept takes storage vertical.
The 105,000 square-foot buildings are relatively identical, Glenn said, and include about 750 units each, either 5-by-5 or 10-by-30.
One of the storage facilities is going up next to the CVS at 13th Street and Maize Road, and two are east — south of Kellogg next to Groves Retail Liquor at Webb Road, and another north of the old Granite City at 21st Street and Webb.
Glenn said Extra Space Storage, a national company with one store already in Wichita, will operate the storage units for Centennial American Properties. The facilities will be branded with the Extra Space Storage name.
On the outside, they look similar to a retail store, with attractive awnings and storefront windows.
The facilities bring customers indoors, with a vehicle pull-through that has garage doors for entering and exiting.
“The door will be closed behind you. You’ll be secure and out of the weather,” Glenn said.
Companies across the U.S. have been experimenting with this prototype in larger cities and have had success, Glenn said. His development group has about nine of the self-storage facilities under construction in five secondary markets across the country, plus another nine in the planning stages.
Glenn said he plans to test the product in Wichita, and if there’s a large customer base and demand for more units, he’ll add more locations.
Brad Saville, president of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, represented Centennial American Properties in each of the transactions, which closed in late July. Clark Investment Group represented the seller for the Kellogg and Webb location, and Slawson Real Estate represented the seller for the 21st and Webb location.
Building permits were recently pulled by WIMCO Corporation, a general contractor in North Carolina, to start work on the facilities. Each permit is for $6 million. Knoxville, Tenn.-based firm Barry Byrd Architecture penned the designs.
Saville said changes in the American lifestyle are driving a new trend in self-storage. Families are renting longer, he said, rather than buying.
“They’ve got less space for storage,” he said. “They don’t accumulate stuff like they used to.”
Besides homes being smaller than they used to be, Glenn said families are also more mobile.
“People have a tendency to move not only homes but cities as well,” Glenn said. “So as they do that from place to place they need somewhere to store their stuff.”