Southern Self Storage has put a stake in the ground in the country’s fastest-growing metro area.

The storage operator recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly acquired facility (pictured above) in Oxford, FL, which is just west of a community called The Villages. From 2012 to 2013, the population of The Villages metro area rose 5.2 percent to more than 107,000, making it the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. The area is anchored by The Villages, the world’s largest retirement community.

Southern Self Storage bought the Oxford facility, at 4150 E. County Road 466, in December 2013. The 64,655-square-foot, 784-unit facility sits on 6 acres. The company is no stranger to The Villages; it once owned two nearby facilities.

“When the opportunity presented itself to purchase in a community that’s growing as rapidly as The Villages is, it was really a no-brainer for us,” said Tresha Powe, marketing manager at Palm Beach Gardens, FL-based Southern Self Storage. “The Villages has a growing demand for climate-controlled self-storage units and RV parking.”

The Villages FL
The Villages, FL, is the largest retirement community in the world.

The facility previously operated as Village Self-Storage. Since taking over the facility, Southern Self Storage has begun offering free use of a moving truck for new tenants, has added packing supplies, and has updated online rental and payment options, Powe said. On tap is a makeover of the rental office.

“The great thing about the property … is our ability to expand by adding more storage units if demand warrants it,” Powe said.

The Oxford deal represented the first facility purchase for Southern Self Storage since selling its 21-facility Florida portfolio last year to publicly traded self-storage REIT Public Storage.

Karl Holley, director of development services for Sumter County, FL, said that about 300 residential units a month are being built in The Villages.

“Because The Villages is a planned development, the expectation is that they will continue a fairly high development level until they exhaust their existing development entitlements. They have acquired additional land area that they have incorporated into their planned development,” Holley said.

Charles Lawrence contributed information to this story.

For information about self-storage acquisition and development prospects in The Villages metro area, visit