U-Haul is putting a stake in the ground in one of the fastest-growing places in the country.

A division of AMERCO, U-Haul’s parent company, recently bought property in the oil boomtown of Williston, ND, for a self-storage facility and a hub for its U-Box portable storage units.

A 5,000-square-foot building sits on the 3-acre property. The property, at 5125 W. Frontage Road, recently was listed for sale for $650,000, according to LoopNet. The price that U-Haul paid wasn’t available.

U-Haul currently rents moving trucks and sells moving equipment at the site and soon will add self-storage. The company has other truck rental locations in the area, but none with self-storage.

“This region has experienced an extreme population increase, making Williston one of the fastest-growing areas in North America,” said Shawn Odden, president of U-Haul of Fargo. “By having U-Haul services available, we are able to help more people move in and around the area.”

Boomtown USA

Williston is one of the fastest-growing “micropolitan” areas in the country, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau. The population rose 10.7 percent between July 2012 and July 2013. A micropolitan area has more than 10,000 residents but fewer than 50,000.

In 2010, the city had just 14,716 residents. The Census Bureau estimates the population had grown beyond 20,000 as of July 2013. People are flocking there for high-paying jobs in the oil and gas industry.

As a result of the influx of people, home prices and apartment rents in Williston are soaring. In fact, Apartment Guide has identified Williston as the most expensive place in the country to rent a basic one-bedroom apartment. Housing is in such short supply that many new arrivals live in quickly erected trailer parks, known as man camps.

Last fall, Colorado-based land planning firm THK Associates said it had conducted self-storage market analysis for investors interested in the area, according to The Storage Facilitator blog. Peter Elzi, principal of the firm, said self-storage facilities in Williston and two neighboring cities were “pretty much 100 percent occupied.”

“All of those markets are in great need for new, modern facilities,” Elzi told The Storage Facilitator.

Elzi said average self-storage rent in Williston was 75 cents per square foot, while some newer facilities were fetching up to $1.30 per square foot.

To read about the potential for a self-storage boom in oil-rich North Dakota, visit news.sparefoot.com/287-will-north-dakota-see-a-storage-boom.

Photo of Williston, ND, courtesy of Business Insider

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Alexander Harris