By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
Compass Self Storage, based in Cleveland, Ohio, is quickly gaining traction in the self storage industry. Within the past year, the company has acquired more than ten properties. Most recently, Compass has added facilities in big markets like Dallas and Atlanta. Things aren’t about to slow down either.
After Compass’ development of Dallas area properties in December 2015 and the acquisition of Atlanta area properties in mid-January 2016, the company now has 62 facilities in its portfolio. Those facilities are spread across Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas.
Compass Self Storage started in 2007, and with nearly a dozen acquisitions within the last year, the company seems to be snowballing. How has it done so much so fast? President of Compass Self Storage Todd Amsdell explains, “We have worked very hard to find self storage centers that make sense for our portfolio.”
“We are spending our money,” he continues. “We do not have any outside partners, so we can be very creative and look at everything from value-added self storage properties to well-operated self storage centers at 90% plus occupancy and development properties. In the end, it all comes down to location. We have been blessed to be able to work with old and new friends who have helped us achieve our goals.”
In December, Compass announced its 61st store, a brand new facility at 2231 Country Club Dr. in Mansfield, Texas. The location offers 112,000 rentable square feet, drive-up access, indoor climate-controlled units, and larger enclosed RV and boat storage spaces. Other amenities include digital surveillance, electronic access, online payments, truck rental, and packing supplies for customers.
This is Compass’ fourth location in the greater Dallas area. Amsdell says there are big opportunities in the region. “Dallas is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States. Dallas is a very transient market, and few homes have areas for storage like basements, attics, and expanded garages, so the market has a much higher-than-national average need for self storage. With the population explosion in Dallas, the need for self storage has been expanding exponentially.”
In January 2016, Compass announced its 62nd location with the acquisition of a self storage center at 1144 Sigman Rd. NE in Conyers, Ga. Compass’ ninth store in the Atlanta area comes with 38,000 square feet of rentable space. This facility also offers drive-up unit access, RV and boat storage, electronic access, online payments, truck rental, and a full line of moving and packing supplies.
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When Compass acquires a facility, it makes changes to bring it up to the company’s standards. “Physically, we almost always end up upgrading the office and improving upon the security at the self storage centers we purchase,” says Amsdell.
“We feel that although you cannot change the location of a property, you can change everything else, so sometimes we end up tearing down buildings and build new modern buildings with all the bells and whistles. Sometimes, it’s just a few modifications to get the property up to the Compass Self Storage standards, but we feel that it’s the added services that we offer that make the real difference,” he adds.
“Our Team is selectively chosen and very well-trained and coached. Our average length of stay is much higher than the national average, and we feel that’s because of the relationships that we develop with our customers and their appreciation for the higher level of service that we offer. We do offer many additional services like truck rental and moving supplies, but we also help our clients with all their moving needs, and that is from day one until the day after they are a client.”
Some of Compass’ additions have been acquisitions while others have been new developments. Amsdell explains, “Since you can only buy what’s for sale, development helps you to build properties that you cannot buy. In other words, via our development program, we can get into markets that would otherwise not be available to us. We are able to build exactly the product that we want from day one and with improvements in site design and amenities that can really make a difference with the end product.”
What does the future look like for Compass? It’s not about to slow down, and it has some new areas in its crosshairs. “We will get into the Nashville and the Boston areas in the next couple of months, and we hope to open up in two more markets in 2016,” Amsdell adds.
“My best guess would be another Texas market and Midwest market like Minneapolis or Columbus, but we like the top 100 MSAs and if the right opportunity came along, we would consider smaller markets. Self storage is a three to five-mile business, so we like smaller markets. The challenge for us to develop a presence in those markets that give us the economies of scale that helps us operate on a higher level.”
Compass Self Storage is part of the Amsdell family of companies. Amsdell Companies is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Amsdell draws its roots from the family-owned construction company founded in 1928 and has since been active in several billions of dollars worth of real estate ventures with a primary focus on self storage.
As industry pioneers, Amsdell has owned and operated more than 500 storage centers under various trade names in over 27 states. With more than 85 years of doing business, the Amsdell team has extensive experience in property acquisition, construction, and property management.
Images courtesy of Compass Self Storage.