Self-storage industry booming in US ... and off Bluffton Parkway

Bluffton Self Storage, under construction at 12 Oliver Court, is pictured.
Bluffton Self Storage, under construction at 12 Oliver Court, is pictured.

America has become a country of pack rats.

The fastest-growing segment of the commercial real estate industry is self-storage facilities. The industry boasted a profit of $27.2 billion in 2014, according to the Self Storage Association.

Some other numbers to consider:

48,500-plus Number of self-storage facilities in the U.S. in 2014

60,000 Number of self-storage facilities worldwide in mid-2015

78 Square mileage of rentable storage space in the U.S. in 2014

33.7 Square mileage of Manhattan

Locally, the demand is visibly high, with two self-storage centers currently under construction off Bluffton Parkway.

Bluffton Self Storage is well underway at 12 Oliver Court. Hilton Head Island-based The Bradshaw Group is developing the 76,000-square-foot center, which is expected to include standard and climate-controlled units in addition to a two-story climatized building and covered RV and boat parking. The Bradshaw Group has previously touted the facility as being the largest in Beaufort County.

Just down the street, another self-storage company, Savannah-based Stop N Stor, has cleared a lot and begun building at the intersection of Bluffton Parkway and Red Cedar Street. Directly across from it is an Extra Storage Space facility.

There are at least seven other existing self-storage centers in Bluffton.

“We feel Bluffton is a prime area for (our) facilities,” said Mick Jordan, director of real estate at Stop N Stor. “Our products match the customer base there.”

Stop N Stor has facilities in Savannah, Hinesville, Ga.; and Port Wentworth, Ga. The Bluffton Parkway location under construction will be the company’s first foray into South Carolina, but Jordan said there is a lot of potential in the area for the company.

“We’re testing the market, but we feel there is a need,” Jordan said. “The growth in the area is strong.”

He said the company looks at number of homes and amount of new construction before entering a market. The Bluffton Parkway site was particularly attractive for Stop N Stor because of its visibility, Jordan said.

He added Bluffton is also a good match because many of the neighborhoods have restrictive covenants that don’t allow residents to put in a shed or extra storage space on their properties.

Jordan said Stop N Stor offers climate-controlled units in a variety of sizes, between 5 feet by 10 feet to 10 feet by 30 feet. The facility will be gated, with cameras and an on-site manager.

Unit rental rates are not available until the project is nearer to completion, Jordan said but would be “competitive” with local rates. Rental estimates on Stop N Stor’s website indicate a range between $56 to $203 per month for a unit. The Bluffton Stop N Stor is expected to be complete this summer.