Lake Mary-based developer Flagship Companies Groupplans to grow its self-storage division in the coming year with a capital venture partner, targeting up to nine properties in the Interstate 4 corridor to buy and build new facilities, the company's CEO told GrowthSpotter.
Flagship ventured into self storage in 2009, acquiring 34 properties across the country that were operated under its brand StorKwik Self Storage, a portfolio that Flagship sold in 2013.
"As the market recovered and inventory to buy existingproperites at less than replacement cost pretty much played out, we saw the opportunity to acquire sites, entitle them and start on a plan to build 10 or more new self storage properties," said CEO Ted Bolin.
The company built a 91,400-square-foot self storage facility last year in Kissimmee and sold it to W.P. Cary in August 2015 for $8 million.
Its most recent project is a three-story, 95,000-square-foot self storage facility on 2.6 acres along Sun Life Path near The Florida Mall, which it acquired in June for $930,000.
Flagship should complete the building in April and sell it to Morningstar Properties, operator of Morningstar Mini Storage. It's one of many large industrial investors aggregating portfolios of self storage around the country, offering developers like Flagship ample opportunity to build new assets and sell them at Certificate-of-Occupancy stage, or within just a few years after stabilizing leases near 85 percent.
Flagship has a new agreement with Chicago-based Blue Vista Capital, which entails a venture plan to build 10 new self storage facilities in Florida. The developer just acquired its first property in Tampa and has broken ground on a 108,000-square-foot facility, Bolin said.
"Between Orlando and Tampa we're vetting more than 20 new sites, and expect to add nine we'll actually move forward on to the one we've started in Tampa," he said. "With Blue Vista as a partner we're capitalized to be an operator that pursues that lease-up valuation increase on a large new portfolio, focused on the I-4 corridor."
When searching for new land acquisitions, Bolin's group studies the ratio of population to self storage space already active within a three-mile radius of a target property.
The industry has established a ratio of six feet of storage per resident in that radius as well supplied, he said. Flagship also examines population growth projections for an area, and the quality of existing self storage competition.
"We've made some offers on new sites, are negotiating contracts and still looking at more sites," Bolin said. "We'll have a busy 2017 as we pursue contracts, go into the entitlement stage, and try to get these projects permitted to start construction toward the end of next year."
New developments average 100,000 gross square feet of building with 75,000 square feet of rentable space, at a development cost of roughly $50 per square foot.
Along with its own equity and that of its partner, Flagship will finance a portion of all its new developments with commercial banks, typically via a "mini-perm" loan of five years, Bolin said.