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Trade Counters & Self Storage

Property Week

​Are mega-centres the future for self-storage?

With self-storaage commanding impressive returns, operators are looking to maximise their success by building big. But is this viable? Tim Clark reports.

Self-storage operators are exploring radical new ideas in a bid to find suitable sites for new developments. And building skywards isn’t the only innovation they are mulling over; digging underground could be an option too.

Self-storage has commanded impressive returns in recent years, and with a shortfall of space and growing demand, operators might soon invest in super-sized, purpose-built units of more than 100,000 sq ft to boost their fortunes.

But is super-sized self-storage wishful thinking or a truly viable option?

According to JLL, up to five new centres are set to be built in the coming year in and around London, and some of them will be buried underground, forming basement warehouses underneath new schemes.

Ollie Saunders, lead director, alternatives, at JLL, expects these super-sized schemes to become the norm in London and the South East. “Although the average self-storage facility will continue to hover around the 45,000 sq ft size, there will be more ‘metro’ stores in city centres and more super-stores of over 100,000 sq ft,” he says.

“There are around five sites we have seen that have plans for development,” Saunders adds. “We are definitely going to see these super-stores going up in the UK, mostly around London. If you have confidence you can fill it; the economics work out the same as a smaller site.”

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