The humble storage shed evolves into an architect-designed, tech-packed multi-story building, filling a gap in last-mile logistics with a Bluetooth-enabled app.
“It’s the future of storage,” StoreLocal chief executive Hans Pearson said when touring his smart shelter in Brisbane.
The purpose-built multi-storey storage facility near Brisbane Airport could be Australia’s smartest hangar, according to Pearson.
Each customer receives a unique link to configure the StoreLocal app which allows them to access doors, elevators and their individual storage shelter with the click of a button on their phone via Bluetooth.
Pearson says this allows the more than 500 customers to control who has access to their storage containers. They can send a unique access code to logistics companies to pick up or drop off goods in the hangar while recording who entered and exited individual storage units.
The Bluetooth will only allow access to the floor of your storage unit and the facility area.
The 10,000m² storage facility at Hendra was completed in March this year after a 15-month building programme, with 11 strata-titled workshops all sold off plan before completion for around $5,500 per meter square.
Pearson says he would have liked to build 30 more stores, and he will likely increase the number of such offerings in future developments, as well as coworking spaces.
Pearson recently signed a $100 million deal with global investment fund Partners Group to help deliver three more projects in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, all of which have DA approval.
He says that in the United States, storage facilities are second only to residential development as the most popular asset class for REITs.
“It’s been an institutionalized asset class in the United States for a long time, it’s a very popular institutional asset,” says Pearson.
“The challenge in Australia is that there hasn’t been the same level of scale as in the United States.
“We’re the fourth-largest player in Australia with 30 sites, behind Kennards, National Storage and Storage King, but it’s all private.”
But demand for self-storage continues to grow exponentially with smaller homes, the rise of e-commerce and a shift towards lifestyle, according to Pearson.
He says the storage market caters to three customer segments: residential demand, businesses requiring more space, and last-mile logistics execution.
It all depends on the location, says Pearson. The facility is strategically located close to the airport and major arterials to meet the half hour delivery target for many last mile logistics operators.
“Other than residential, this is the highest land use. It is an intensive development of the territory because we are able to go up, as opposed to the industrial,” he says.
A workshop owner with a stratum title was setting up a mezzanine while we toured the site and explained that he had downsized his office and was working from home, but wanted to have a workplace separate.
The double-height workshop will include a closed and air-conditioned mezzanine, its own bathroom and a place for its “toys” on the ground floor.
The pandemic has also accelerated demand for flexible self-storage storage options.
A CBRE industry report highlighted that business owners are reducing headcount and cutting costs with increased flexibility in storage space, while white-collar workers need to free up space for a home office.
It is a billion dollar industry in Australia that is attracting more interest from investors despite its immaturity in the commercial sector. Pearson says it provides good inflation hedging with regular opportunities to adjust rent prices and, more importantly, sticky tenants.
Unlike other commercial asset classes, occupancy agreements for self-storage typically do not include incentives, which means investors receive effective rental cash flow and effective returns of up to 6 .5%.
While self-storage is in direct competition with industrial developers, Pearson says they can afford to pay more because they are the long-term owners of the asset, with a view to making them as efficient as possible. on the environmental level.
Hendra’s facility features a passive design and strong ESG values that will deliver long-term benefits throughout the life of the asset.
While Pearson views each storage facility as a unique beast, it’s clear that this is an iterative and accelerating design process.
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