Another year in the self-storage industry has come and gone, and as usual, new milestones were reached and various companies made big moves.

Before 2019 gets into full swing, let’s take a moment to look back at the biggest stories of last year. The below headlines are some of our most popular reads of the last 12 months, as well as a few stories that flew under the radar but nonetheless are likely to have continued impacts for the self-storage industry going forward.

6. U-Haul snaps up Kmart and Sears locations

In what was our most read story of 2018, the news that U-Haul would buy 13 Kmart and Sears locations and convert them from self-storage is emblematic of not just the ascendancy of self-storage development over the last several years, but also the decline of brick and mortar retail. U-Haul and other storage operators across the country have frequently targeted vacant big box stores for self-storage conversion and we don’t think the trend is likely to end anytime soon.

5. Self-storage development reaches its zenith

Over the last five years, self-storage development has ramped up across the country and most industry insiders seem to peg 2018 as the peak year for deliveries. With more than $4.5 billion spent on storage construction from January to October of 2018 according to the U.S. Census, it’s hard to imagine that figure climbing much higher in 2019.

4. Madison Development pulls the plug on storage

Madison Development, one of New York City’s top storage developers announced that they are no longer pursuing new developments in the city, but instead pursuing deals in other real estate sector. Tighter zoning restrictions coupled with pockets of elevated supply has made the opportunity to develop storage in New York City slightly less appealing than it once was.

3. National Storage Affiliates drops $1.3 billion on Simply Self Storage portfolio

In a joint venture with Heitman LP, National Storage Affiliates struck a deal this summer to buy 112 storage locations from Orlando, FL-based Simply Self Storage for more than a billion dollars. The deal is surely the largest portfolio transaction of the year and proved to the industry that the market for acquisitions still had legs.

2. An end of an era at Public Storage

Early last year Public Storage announced the retirements of its CEO Ron Havner and CFO John Reyes. The duo led the company to historic highs, and expanded the storage REIT’s footprint through aggressive acquisition and development. The retirements officially went into effect December 31, with Joe Russell and Tom Boyle stepping into the CEO and CFO roles for 2019.

1. SpareFoot merges with SiteLink and storEDGE

Not to toot our own horn too much, but the news that Boston-based Cove Hill Partners acquired a majority stake in SpareFoot and SiteLink last March marked a new era for both companies. That deal was followed with another merger in August, this time with management software company storEDGE. The synergistic combination of these three companies will drive greater efficiency and performance for its storage industry clients in 2019 and beyond.


Alexander Harris