Those who have ever attempted a large scale conversion in a major metro area know it’s no easy task. For Gotham Mini Storage this was no exception. The self storage company from Manhattan, New York City had to put everything on the line to undertake the herculean task of transforming an old parking garage into a grad-A facility.
The Area Demographics and Economics
The Manhattan self-storage market has incredibly high obstacles for entrance. A critical absence of appropriately zoned land in addition to the intense competition from other types of business makes self-storage development tremendously tough. Besides Gotham Mini Storage, there have been no new industry developments below 96th Street in 10 years.
New York City has some of the most competitive real estate in the country. With land and building prices hitting new highs, there’s been a furious rush to obtain build-able land. In prime areas prices can rise above $800 per square foot. One acre in the area of Gotham Mini Storage goes for about $58 million.
With these tremendous costs, Gotham’s developers had to invent a creative businesses plan to make the numbers work. Luckily, owners Jack Guttman and Stephen Schwartz have been in the self-storage business for many years and had a solid grasp on creating a strong structure that would quickly generate profitability. The aggressive plan was formulated to permit a breakeven after just six months of operation.
Gotham Mini Storage was transformed from a parking garage built in the 1920’s. The bones were there, but both the exterior and interior required major gutting and renovations to meet the modern standards.
The beams and columns had been messily mended over the years, and various shades of grey concrete patching dispersed around the structural core of the building made it look grungy and unappealing. To fix this, the developers covered the building in mesh with a mortar composite and covered it with several layers of weatherproof primer and paint to give it a smooth, uniform finish. Old windows were swapped with large, energy-efficient glazing, allowing people to see the unique storage doors inside. When the initial renovations were completed, no one would believe that the building was over 90 years old.
As part of the business model, the developers didn’t just think about the building itself but what environmental impact the storage facility would have. A high-tech, natural-gas-fed, mini-turbine system was put in for the building’s heating and cooling. The building’s own internal cogeneration plant uses excess heat from the production of electricity through the mini turbines to heat water, which heats the facility in the colder months. The same hot water runs through absorption chillers to produce chilled water in the summer to cool the building. This system is not only less expensive than using power from traditional methods; it produces far less greenhouse gas, making Gotham one of the few truly green self storage facilities in the country.
When it came to the aesthetic revamped design of the facility, the firm hired Daniel Goldner Architects to craft a spectacular management office that defied traditional storage standards. An angular, metal-panel-based exterior siding was used to produce eye-catching curb appeal, and brick walls were substituted for large pane windows around the management office and loading area. Custom cabinetry, terrazzo flooring, high ceilings and sleek styling create a visually stunning modern upscale experience rarely seen in the self storage industry that is known for being grungy and cheap.
“The change in the building has been trans-formative to the area. Whereas before, someone walking down this particular block had nothing to look at but a brick wall, we’ve now changed the entire block, creating a stunning street level retail office,” says Schwartz.
The NYC self storage facility boasts two 10-by-40-foot freight elevators for customer convenience. These carpeted elevators are large enough to accommodate a truck, and they are fully automatic to work like normal passenger elevators.
Clients can drive right into the building itself and load/unload their belongings, all while being sheltered from the weather. Unlike other metro facilities, Gotham has dedicated parking spots available inside the building so customers can take their time and not worry about parking costs or tickets.
Customer storage areas are top-notch, with renovated floors and brand new units and roll-up doors. Units range from four-by-four to 20-by-80 feet. Each floor is temperature-controlled, carpeted, well-lit and equipped with Wi-Fi.
Generous energy efficient windows on several of the storage hallways allow occupants a breathtaking sight of the city right from their storage units. In fact, a few customers have offered to pay more for a unit with a view.
Gotham has achieved the difficult goal of providing premium storage alternatives to a highly populated area known for a dearth of space. It has done so much more in creating a user-friendly atmosphere that far surpasses customer expectations at every turn. Gotham’s developers didn’t just want to make a self storage facility they wanted to create a self storage experience.
About Gotham Mini Storage
Located at 10th Avenue and 39th Street in Manhattan, NYC, this gleaming new self-storage facility is convenient to residents of Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and Midtown. Gotham Mini Storage’s competitively priced self-storage units range in size from 4’x4’ lockers to 80’x20’ extra-large rooms. Gotham is climate controlled, lit with energy efficient lighting, carpeted, and has hundreds of security cameras. Customers enjoy free Wi-Fi, coffee, and concierge moving services. For more information see gothamministorage.com or call 212-931-5731.