Store, lock and take the key. This is the concept of self storage, a business that is growing worldwide and also gaining space here in Brazil. The lease of boxes in metropolitan areas to store many types of objects, from furniture and tools to clothes, is used by individuals and companies, as shopkeepers, who are using such service for small stocks of products, such as a mini-center of distribution.

The business is already popular in the United States, where it emerged in the 1960s. Nowadays, USA has approximately 58,000 self storage facilities, which is more than the total of McDonald’s, Burger King and Starbucks.

Here in Brazil, there are around 140 units in operation, most of them in the Metropolitan Region of the city of São Paulo. The possibilities of using the boxes are numerous and the public is increasingly recognizing its advantages.

The national self-storage market is also attracting investors, who are attentive to the prospects of this segment that has been growing 5% per year in the country, according to the Associação Brasileira de Self Storage (ASBRASS).

Due to the new institutional investors, the sector goes through a moment of consolidation.

Roberto Santos, Head of Real Estate Development da MetroFit Self Storage.

Roberto Santos, Head of Real Estate Development da MetroFit Self Storage.

The market in matter has been receiving strong investments and is becoming more professional. We see facilities with high standards of quality, safety and competitiveness. It is a segment that is growing in the crisis and shall grow even more when the economy is recovered”, says Roberto Santos, Head of Real Estate Development at MetroFit Self Storage.

The real estate component is essential to the success of the self storage operation and, according to Luciana Arouca, manager of Projetos e Obras of JLL, new spaces with much superior technical quality compared to the former storages, and which are able to meet the current market demands.

A lasting partnership

MetroFit was created in 2013 and today it is one of the leading companies in the Brazilian self storage market. Currently, it has two units, one in Marginal Tietê, in the West Region of the capital, and another in Santo André city in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, which was recognized as the world’s best self storage operation by Facility of the Year 2015, an award of the American Mini-Storage Messenger, which accompanies this market worldwide.

MetroFit’s plans in Brazil are ambitious. According to Roberto, the company shall have nine units in São Paulo, whether in operation and development, until the end of this year and it is also studying the Rio de Janeiro market.

Soon, two new units shall start its operations: one in Campo Belo and another in Mooca, neighborhoods of the South and East regions of the city, with 3,000 and 6,000 m² of constructed area, respectively. In order to help them with this challenge, they can count on the expertise of JLL, which has advised the company on the search for ready-made real estate or land for new constructions, and shall also be responsible for managing the projects of these new units as well as of the other units to be opened in the next few years.

This partnership will add a lot of value to the customer, as it will enable the standardization of processes, greater speed in opening points, greater efficiency and appropriate development of suppliers, a commercial advantage for those who need to grow quickly and with quality, with the maximum discretion in relation to real estate decisions.

In terms of location, the visibility and high flow of people are essential for self storage business addresses. According to Márcia Castro, JLL’s Transações director, the investors’ preference in this sector is for the acquisition of ready-made real estate, which invariably needs to undergo a refurbish for adequacy. Thus, the search has to be even more careful regarding environmental and zoning issues. She adds, “The customer makes a high investment and cannot go wrong in buying. We scan every step to make sure it’s the best option in every ways”.

Luciana Arouca explains that, in addition to choosing the best location and the best property, it is necessary to ensure a serious management of the project program, because when one has an expansion plan, it is imperative to rigidly control the deadlines, costs and the scope.

It is necessary to size the investment volume of the projects with the utmost precision and be efficient to optimize capital expenditures”, says Luciana Arouca.

Therefore, having a partner like JLL, who is responsible for managing the whole process, allows the investor to use the capital in the best way. This also helps to achieve the best results and the maximum appreciation of the real estate assets.