It looks like the self-storage business is doing well.
For example, Maple Leaf Self Storage, which is one of the most recognizable names in the industry, has four locations in the city of Vancouver.
Moreover, the company has two sites on the North Shore, another two in the Tri-Cities, and one each in Richmond and Surrey.
Demand seems to be growing, because otherwise, no one’s going to build new storage facilities.
To illustrate, Vandwell Developments has applied to the City of Vancouver to develop a new three-storey mini-storage building, containing one caretaker unit.
The proposed development is located at 1802 Franklin Street in the neighbourhood of Grandview-Woodland.
The company submitted an “operational letter” as part of its development application, and document provides a window on what kind of homes are being built in the city.
“We have identified a need to provide storage facilities for all the new residents in the E. Hastings corridor,” stated the document signed by a certain Jerry.
The person is presumably Jerry Rakhra, who is a home builder.
“There are many existing and upcoming real estate developments in the surrounding area with very small units,” the letter went on.
Moreover, it stated that the company’s “research has shown an overwhelming demand for personal storage due to the small sizes of new apartments”.
Per B.C. Assessment, the property at 1802 Franklin Street sold in August 2021 for $2,730,000.
The location has a home that was built in 1939, and contains seven bedrooms and two baths.
The property has a 2022 assessment of $2,813,700.
The address is in an area with an M-2 zoning, which means it’s intended for industrial purposes.
Last year’s sale of 1802 Franklin Street went fast.
Based on tracking by real-estate site Zealty.ca, it was listed on August 3 for $2,889,000.
The property sold on the same day for $2,730,000.
The listing stated that the site at the southeast corner of Franklin Street and Salsbury Drive could be used for “warehouse, service, and/or and manufacturing redevelopment”.
“Property currently tenanted on a fixed-term lease,” the listing also stated at the time.
An online post by shipping company Bolt notes that typical rent for an urban self-storage unit in Canada ranges from $1.75 to $2.50 per square foot.
The article states that this range is “equal to a typical apartment rent in Burnaby”.
“In downtown Vancouver neighbourhoods, storage rents can reach $3.75 per square foot, and average around $2.95 per square foot,” the post related.
Also, “When you compare this to storage in smaller towns, where rents are more likely to be around $1.40 per square foot, the disparity is significant.”
The Bolt post also notes, “In a city like Vancouver, where population density is high and space is at an ever-growing premium, affordable self-storage can be an expensive proposition.”
The City of Vancouver accepted comments from the public about Vandwell Developments’ application for 1802 Franklin Street from April 7 to April 25.