One of a four-property, self-storage portfolio in West Texas acquired by WP Carey.

MIDLAND, TX-WP Carey Inc. entered West Texas by acquiring a four-property, 2,541-unit self-storage portfolio from a local seller.  The New York buyer paid $33 million — $19 million of which was financed by Wells Fargo NA — to claim ownership of two self-storage assets in Midland and two in neighboring Odessa.

WP Carey executive director Liz Raun Schlesinger explains that, while the company has a strong presence throughout Texas and even has an office in the Lone Star State, this portfolio buy is the first time the East Coast buyer invested in West Texas property. “A big part of our underwriting for self-storage is the focus on the local demographics and economy,” she tells “Midland and Odessa are thriving.”

Schlesinger isn’t just throwing phrases around. East Coast publications (“The Atlantic” and “Forbes” in particular) recognized that Midland-Odessa, which is thriving on energy demand, has enjoyed huge economic growth during the past couple of years. Karr Ingham, an economist based in Amarillo, TX, was quoted in another article as indicating that the area’s growth was up 13.5% in October 2012 from the year before. The sister cities sit on the Permian Basin, one of the largest natural gas and oil-producing areas in the United States.

Schlesinger points out that, while self-storage is, to an extent, recession-proof, that commercial real estate sector is stronger when driven by a healthy, robust economy. To that end, she isn’t shy in stating that WP Carey would be interested in buying more in the region. “We have a strategy of clustering around properties we purchase,” she says. “We like the Midland-Odessa economy and as other facilities are available for purchase, we’d be interested in buying them.”

The self-storage portfolio transaction was brokered by Brandon Karr, a senior associate with Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services‘ Fort Worth office. The portfolio consists of facilities at 3125 Kermit Hwy. and 5306 N. Grandview Ave. in Odessa; and 2504 N. Loop 250 W and 3111 Calbera Blvd. in Midland. The portfolio will be managed by CubeSmart.