The Mele Group self-storage real estate brokerage has planted its flag in the Big Apple.

Kevin Menendez, who joined the Mele Group in 2012, has relocated from the group’s headquarters in Tampa, FL, to lead the firm’s new office in Manhattan, NY.

“Really, our main goal is to provide better service to our clients in this area and help them have more exposure,” Menendez told The SpareFoot Storage Beat.

Photo: Kevin Menendez (far right) is pictured with Michael Mele (center), William Wamble (left), Luke Elliott (second from left) and Tara Paronto.

The Mele Group is part of the Marcus & Millichap National Self-Storage Group.

Big market, small competition

Michael Mele, principal of the Mele Group, said that while New York is one of the country’s largest self-storage markets, it’s vastly underserved when it comes to advisory services for private self-storage owners.

“Frankly, the competition there is limited,” Mele said. “When it comes to the bigger [brokerage] companies, they don’t really have anybody up there, either. We felt that we really needed to have a greater presence.”

In addition to its Tampa office, the Mele Group has brokers in Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC. In 2014, the company brokered the sale of 50 properties, with the sales volume reaching $258 million.

Huge potential

Mele said there’s “huge potential” to grow the company’s business in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where a considerable number of family-owned facilities operate.

“They are up against REITs and other big investors who have millions of dollars in cash behind them,” Mele said. “They really need representation, and nobody really represents them as well as we do.”

Real estate in the New York market fetches higher prices than pretty much anywhere else in the U.S. Mele said the typical single-facility deal that his firm handles outside the New York market is in the $5 million to $10 million range. In the New York metro area, Mele said he expects his firm’s typical sale to fall within the $15 million to $20 million range.

Prime opportunity

Menendez said the New York self-storage market remains strong for sellers in 2015.

“The fundamentals are really great,” Menendez said. “It is a prime opportunity for investors to maximize their returns.”

Most of the self-storage REITs already have established a deep footprint in the New York market, he said, but they continue to seek opportunities to boost their market share.

“If they can find those quality assets, they are more than happy to pay the premium,” Menendez said.

Alexander Harris