Westport Properties an Irvine-based owner/operator of self-storage facilities throughout the U.S., has merged with Vertex Investments, a real estate investment firm that specializes in multifamily housing and mobile home parks.
The merger will allow Westport — which manages its facilities in 16 states under the banner US Storage Centers — to expand and diversify its portfolio. Denver-based Vertex owns and manages seven multifamily properties with a total of 638 units.
Terms of the merger were not disclosed.
Vertex co-founders David Grissom and Scott McCormick will serve as managing partners of the new Westport Residential division.
Drew Hoeven, Westport’s chairman and chief investment officer, said the two companies have had a close working relationship for the past decade with values and cultures that are closely aligned.
The ‘perfect opportunity and partner’
“I met David at a forum about a decade ago,” he said. “Over time you really get to know someone’s work ethic and character. He later became our relationship officer at KeyBank, and when he more recently founded Vertex and started acquiring manufactured housing as well as multifamily, we formalized a general partnership that brings both of our strengths together.”
The merger, Hoeven said, presented the “perfect opportunity and partner” for Westport to launch a residential platform that the company had envisioned for some time.
“We now have the resources and expertise to acquire multifamily properties and manage them in-house while continuing our growth within the self-storage and industrial sectors,” he said.
The merger will also allow Grissom and McCormick to spend more time growing the residential side, Hoeven said.
“There are a lot of synergies and efficiencies that come with this merger, including IT, marketing and other roles that will help alleviate them from having to wear multiple hats,” he said.
Grissom and McCormick launched Vertex Investments in 2017. Grissom said he’s worked with multiple companies on acquisition and development projects valued at over $1.1 billion. McCormick has worked on the commercial real estate side, managing more than 4.5 million square feet valued at north of $400 million, according to the company.
Founded in 1985, Westport Properties develops, acquires and manages its portfolio while also providing third-party management services. The company manages about 11 million square feet of rentable, self-storage space.
The company employed 400 workers nationwide before the merger and that has since increased to about 420. Acquisition of self-self storage facilities has accounted for 90% of the company’s business with development of such operations making up the remaining 10%.
A resilient industry
Hoeven said the self-storage industry has been resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic in the face of escalating job losses, company shutdowns, brush fires and growing tension within households.
“We really operate off the four Ds — divorce, displacement, downsizing and disaster,” he said. “We’ve seen all four of those things going on.”