Minding The Gaps Is Urban Infill Approaching The Self-Storage Development Mainstream? By Jennifer LeClaire

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    Urban infill. Expect to hear those two words more and more in the self-storage industry in the coming years. That’s because permitting is often easier; government incentives for redevel- oping abandoned inner city properties are increasingly common; there is a built-in customer base of urban dwellers living in small quarters that demand extra storage space; and there is a scarcity of prime land in the city.

    What’s more, many municipalities will offer you a warm welcome. Municipalities recognize that putting new developments in empty lots between buildings or in place of old, abandoned facilities—wheth- er those new developments are storage, apartment complexes, or retail—is a stra- tegic, profitable solution to urban sprawl.

    Urban infill fills in underutilized parts of the city that are already well-served by streets, sewers, and other infrastructure to support street and foot traffic. Put another way, infill development basically reuses properties in areas that are blight- ed or underdeveloped.

    The list of reasons why self-storage developers are exploring the potential of infill sites—and why municipalities are embracing them—goes on and on. In fact, urban infill is growing more common in downtown areas that are seeing revitalization, transit corridors, and areas near large employers, shopping malls, and recreational facilities.

    It’s up to the savvy self-storage developer to identify these opportuni- ties and then wade through the chal- lenges that are inherent with every great prospect.

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