How to Maximize Self-Storage Land Use

By : Nick Marr

When you lay out a self-storage site, you’ll realize the importance of land space. The topography, development standards, zoning, local politics, and parcel configuration can affect how you design your facility. In order to gain high return on investment (ROI), you need to work around all those issues and learn how to maximize land use.

When it comes to maximizing land, you need to strike a balance between customer convenience, easy maintenance, and rental space. Successful storage facilities such as those in  have found this balance.

Zoning Restrictions and Allowances

Before you can fully maximize land use, you need to understand zoning laws first. These laws vary from one location to another. Thus, you need to talk with a local attorney to learn about your city’s zoning ordinance.

To give you an idea, the zoning ordinance gives the city councils or planning commissions the right to discretionary review and impose conditions on your proposed building design. They can also modify conditions of your project when they see fit. These conditions are necessary to make your facility compatible with the neighborhood or community. Most of the time, the zoning ordinance is highly affected by local politics.

Some cities set floor-area ratio (FAR) limitation. This means that they impose a coverage restriction on the land area you’ve bought. FAR limitations usually restrict a building’s total area on all levels. However, the exterior walls and the basement are usually exempted from these limitations.

Choosing a Building Type

Once you’ve learned about your city’s zoning restrictions and allowances, you need to consider the location’s climate. Are you in need of cooled or heated units? The most successful storage facilities have climate-controlled units.

When the land area is small, you can build a multi-story facility. Multi-story facilities take more time to plan and develop. They also have a more expensive construction cost compared to single-story facilities. However, this choice is perfect for facilities located in cities where the demand for storage units is high. When planning your facility’s design, make sure to include an elevator for the convenience of your customers.

Designing and Thinking Wide

Work with a local civil engineer in creating your building layout. Then, determine the curb appeal you want to achieve with your facility. New self-storage facilities often offer several amenities including a parking lot, loading docks, and even ponds. While these amenities can help attract more customers, your primary focus should still be in the rental units.

One effective way of increasing rentable space is through using wide buildings with halls. Traditional self-storage facilities have 30- to 40-foot wide units. These have been proven efficient and easy to rent. However, with wider units, about 100-foot wide or more, and interior hallways lessen construction cost and increase the rental fee.

Final Thoughts