StorageMart, one of the largest private self-storage operators in the country, has entered the Milwaukee market for the first time with the acquisition of a nine-facility portfolio. The facilities were sold by Brookfield, WI-based Storage Master LLC and are located in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Muskego, Caledonia, New Berlin, and Cudahy.

The nine facilities span a total of 712,899 net rentable square feet and offer a total of 5,664 storage units. The properties are now under management by Columbia, MO-based StorageMart, which operates more than 250 facilities across the country.

A Brew City foothold

Storage Mart paid $93.2 million for eight of the nine facilities, according to property records obtained by Milwaukee-based BizTimes.

The most expensive facility of the group was the one at 8600 Storage Drive in Caledonia, which sold for $17.36 million (pictured at top). The remaining properties are located as follows:

  • 307 W. Layton Ave., Milwaukee
  • 5083 S. Packard Ave., Cudahy
  • 6951 S. Lovers Lane Road, Franklin
  • 12000 W. Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee
  • 802 E. Bay St., Milwaukee
  • S66 W14444 Janesville Road, Muskego
  • S30 W24720 W. Sunset Drive, Waukesha

The ninth facility acquired by StorageMart is located at 2601 S. Moorland Road in New Berlin. The BizTimes was not able to determine the purchase price for that property.

Storage Master retained a single facility in Brookfield, according to its website.

Right in the sweet spot

StorageMart is the second largest privately-held self-storage operator based on rentable area, and eighth largest overall in the U.S., according to Inside Self Storage. Founded in 1976, StorageMart today controls more than 15 million square feet of self-storage space in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

In October 2020, the company received a boost when Bill Gates acquired an ownership stake through his private investment entity, Cascade Investments, LLC. GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, also invested at the time. The investment deal valued StorageMart at $2.7 billion at that time.

While the company has major league backing (billionaire professional sports team owner Stan Kroenke is a previous investor), it maintains a principled strategic approach to expansion. The measured decision-making process is exemplified by the Milwaukee addition, according to CEO Cris Burnam.

“Whether it’s a one-property deal or a multi-property acquisition, StorageMart is looking for the same base characteristics: Well-maintained properties at locations that are conducive to business with the right blend of market demand, zoning regulations, and competitor positioning,” Burnam said.

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Alexander Harris