SROA Capital fund buys recordbreaking 50-facility portfolio

John Egan
Published July 12, 2019

In what’s billed as the largest acquisition of its type in the history of the self-storage industry, a fund affiliated with self-storage owner and operator SROA Capital LLC has purchased a 50-facility, six-state portfolio.

SROA Capital Fund VII LP — managed by West Palm Beach, FL-based SROA Capital — acquired the portfolio on behalf of a joint venture between a state pension fund and an investment fund, according to commercial real estate company Newmark Knight Frank (NKF), which represented the seller. Neither of the two acquiring funds was identified.

A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows SROA Capital Fund VII, a pooled investment fund, had planned to raise as much as $250 million.

The seller of the portfolio was identified only as a joint venture between an institutional investment adviser and a publicly traded self-storage REIT. The sale price wasn’t disclosed.

The 50 facilities — in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — contains 21,787 units across more than 3.15 million net rentable square feet. They’ll now operate under SROA’s Storage Rentals of America brand. Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee are new markets for SROA.

Last year, SROA’s portfolio reached 4.5 million rentable square feet with the company’s purchase of the Storage Zone portfolio in Ohio, according to the SROA website. The brand operates 17 facilities in the Cleveland and Akron markets.

With this deal, SROA now owns 140 facilities totaling 7 million net rentable square feet, according to the company’s website.

SROA was founded in 2013 by CEO Ben Macfarland in partnership with Sidney Kohl, co-founder of the Kohl’s department store chain, and Jim Jenkins, co-founder of The Alliant Co., a finance and investment firm chaired by Kohl. In 2017, Elite Stor Capital Partners LLC rebranded as SROA Capital.

Representatives of SROA weren’t available for comment.

Aaron Swerdlin, vice chairman of NKF, and Kenneth Cox, executive managing director, represented the portfolio’s seller. They are co-leaders of NKF’s self-storage team. Additionally, NKF’s Bert Sanders, Aaron Sommer, Fred Liesveld and Chris Sonne worked on the deal.

Based on the number of facilities sold, the SROA deal ranks as the “largest widely marketed, non-merger transaction” in the history of the self-storage industry, NKF said. In other words, it’s the biggest self-storage acquisition ever that wasn’t part of an off-market deal or a merger.

“The level of interest generated by the portfolio transaction was a strong indicator of the health of the self-storage market, overall,” Swerdlin said in an NKF news release. “Its successful sale gives the industry confidence that self-storage remains one of the strongest product types, one in which institutional investors are still eagerly interested.”

Among prospective buyers of the portfolio were pension funds, private equity firms, family offices and public REITs, according to Cox.

John Egan

John is a freelance writer and editor. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today. John's loves include pizza, University of Kansas basketball and puns.

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