Metal Builder: Relocatable storage units

Just as portable classrooms assist local school districts in dealing with temporary overcrowding and maximizing land use, many self-storage operators are discovering the various benefits of using relocatable storage units to maximize available space and profitability.

Municipalities typically will allow relocatable self-storage buildings to be located over utility easements and water, gas, and sewer lines because these buildings can be easily moved or relocated.

At the Stor-All New Orleans self storage facility, owner Mike Maguire added 61 state-of-the-art Rite-Away relocatable self-storage units manufactured by US Door & Building Components. These units added 12,200 square feet of rentable space to his existing storage facilities.

Stor-All New Orleans is familiar with complying with tight local government regulations. In the mid-1990s, Maguire and Stor-All New Orleans renovated two historical city properties that were originally built in the 1800s in the Tchoupitoulas and Gentilly Woods sections of New Orleans.

Between the two properties, about 221,000 square feet of self-storage was created in more than 2,000 units. These buildings are in the same neighborhood as Tulane and Loyola universities near the French Quarter, where local authorities are sensitive to major changes in the buildings.

Yet Maguire and his partner gained passage of their restoration plans. They have a 20-year track record of developing and managing self-storage, and own 18 facilities and more than 30 commercial properties.

With the help of the manufacturer, Maguire was able to get the relocatable units approved, manufactured, and erected, immediately increasing his rentable space by more than 10 percent.

“I was very satisfied at the potential the self-storage units gave me to maximize my return on land that otherwise could not support a fixed self-storage structure,” Maguire says.

The Rite-Away units are manufactured from hot-dipped galvanized steel with a heavy duty self-storage structural pier and header system. The relocatable buildings come in lightstone tan or satin white. The doors and trim are available in 22 pre-finished colors. The roofs are sloped at a 1/4:12 pitch, and have leakproof stainless steel screws. The roof can withstand 50-pound snow load and a 125 psf floor load.

Doors can be placed on any side of the buildings giving flexibility to the owner on the site layout. The right company with highly specialized design engineers can produce plans for the best and most profitable configuration. For example, relocatable buildings can be grouped side-to-side or back-to-back in a custom arrangement.
The Rite-Away units vary in size from 8×20 to 13×30 for site-specific custom needs. Each building can contain from one unit to 12 units. Options include windload tie-downs for 130 mph, custom gutters, and downspouts.

Each building has optional adjustable feet and can be placed on any load bearing material. This built-in feature allows the units to be installed on minimally sloped lots and driveways. The owner can choose to have US Door install the Rite-Away units. Or, the owner can assemble the units with a level, tape measure, and common tools because of the ease of installation, pre-punched holes, and hardware. US Door supplies a total package of all the parts and hardware necessary to easily assemble on site.

“Mike Maguire and Stor-All is just one of the success stories we are hearing about across the country and internationally,” says US Door Vice President Charles “Chip” Cordes. “We expect the trend in relocatable self-storage units to accelerate as the land for self-storage becomes a premium.”

According to Cordes, Rite-Away units can also be used to start a small self-storage operation before the developers or owners have fully immersed themselves in a business with fixed buildings. U.S. Door

The Rite-Away units can enhance businesses with odd-shaped or uneven plots of land, including unstable ground that cannot take a permanent foundation or be excavated for budgetary reasons. Some landowners use portables on empty lots until ground is broken on a self-storage or other building project to create a temporary source of income.

The self-storage units are an ideal low-cost option for abandoned industrial or commercial sites, including vacant or former car dealerships, freight terminals, or military bases, because of existing paving, lighting, and fencing.

The use of these units is not limited to the self-storage business. Residential communities, construction sites, transportation hubs, utilities, pharmaceutical, retail establishments, agricultural, horse breeding stables, marinas, sports complexes, educational sites, and military bases can utilize relocatable units.
The relocatable units are just one of many innovations Maguire took advantage of in order to increase customer satisfaction at his self-storage business, and self-storage operators and developers who take advantage of the latest innovative products on the market today are the ones who are succeeding.

He also offers free use of a moving van for first-time tenants moving in to a certain size unit. There is antiques storage, and units designed specifically for keeping fine vintage wines at a constant humidity and temperature level so they will not spoil.
Security enhancements at Stor-All New Orleans include state-of-the-art fire and heat sensors. Other features include video surveillance, seven-day-a-week access, and special RV, boat, and classic car parking. “We tell people we are the safest move in New Orleans,” Maguire says. “With this and our ongoing, periodic enhancements such as the relocatable storage buildings, our facility sells itself.”

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