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Is a Single-Story Self-Storage Better for Unit Access and Peace of Mind?



Have you ever wondered why so many Self-Storage facilities are built from the ground up rather than simply refurbishing big-box store buildings? It's for the same reason that multi-story Self-Storage facilities are not common unless they cannot be avoided due to land costs. It all boils down to weight.


Self-Storage has one of the most weight-intensive requirements of any building use out there. Building codes require yards of footings and reinforced slabs because it must be assumed that storage facilities will be stacked wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with heavy boxes. To re-purpose a big-box site, a Self-Storage developer frequently needs to remove the previous building entirely -- including the concrete slabs. The costs of going up to a second floor, let alone a third floor, are quite expensive in terms of all the reinforced engineering which must take place.


The weight issue taxes not only the concrete flooring, but also the elevators which lift all those boxes, sofas, beds, tables, and electronics as well.

So, if you are considering renting that second-floor unit, think not only about the fire sprinkler system that likely runs through the hallways ready to sprinkle your stored items at the slightest provication -- but also about the fact that waiting, while someone else moves their boxes in and out of a small elevator packed to the gills, is just one problem you're likely to encounter. Getting stuck in that overtaxed elevator, which just lifted all that weight for someone else, is yet another potential problem…not to mention the elevator door closing half-way, only to open again, and then close again, after repeatedly banging into a box stuffed in the way to keep the elevator from departing the second floor.


In short, there are many good reasons why single floor storage facilities are favored in the industry, by tenants and builders alike:

  • They are safer, because you are always by your car if something untoward happens.

  • They don’t require fire sprinklers, which can go off and damage your property.

  • They are less costly to build (if the land is available), resulting in lower rental fees.

  • They are much easier for tenants to use, because tenants can drive right up to their unit(s).

  • No one has to worry about getting stuck in an elevator on a Sunday afternoon or late in the evening.

If you have a choice, a single-story storage experience may be your smartest choice.


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