If you want some insight into the acquisition strategy for Sovran Self Storage, keep this number in mind: 1 million. That’s the population sweet spot for metropolitan areas where Sovran seeks to buy facilities.

“Everybody’s looking for that holy grail tying something to storage demand, but there just don’t seem to be any economic or macro patterns that apply,” Sovran Chairman and CEO David Rogers told Investor’s Business Daily. “We found that if you can get into an MSA of 1 million people or so, you can do well in storage. We like the idea that with 1 million people or so, we can buy enough stores to reach the scale we want.”

Sovran, one of four publicly traded self-storage REITs in the U.S., operates more than 500 storage facilities in 25 states under the Uncle Bob’s Self Storage brand.

Everything being built new is going to be third-generation.
— Sovran Self Storage Chairman and CEO David Rogers

In the past 3½ years, Sovran has purchased about 125 facilities. In 2014 alone, it picked up nearly $500 million worth of storage assets, including buyouts and joint ventures, Investor’s Business Daily reported. Rogers said the pace of acquisitions in 2015 should be slower than in 2014.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Todd Thomas wrote in a research report that Sovran executives have indicated the REIT will make between $100 million and $200 million in acquisitions this year, not counting joint ventures and similar deals, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

Much of Sovran’s acquisition strategy focuses on so-called “third generation” properties — mostly multistory facilities with modern amenities such as security systems and 24-hour access, Investor’s Business Daily reported.

“Everything being built new is going to be third-generation,” Rogers said. “The industry is in transition.”

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