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Three of the four publicly traded self-storage REITs are embracing a special type of development deal that enables them to assume less risk in expanding their portfolios. In what’s called a “certificate of occupancy” deal, or “C/O” for short, a REIT agrees to buy a newly built facility from a developer. The developer assumes the financial burdens…

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For investors, the self-storage sector is sizzling. It’s so hot, in fact, that the four publicly traded self-storage REITs topped Bloomberg Markets magazine’s second annual ranking of top alternative investments. The magazine points out that the three-year annualized return for the four REITs — CubeSmart, Extra Space Storage, Public Storage and Sovran Self Storage (Uncle…