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FT. WORTH-A 60,000-sf, self-storage complex is taking shape in west Ft. Worth, where nearly $2 million in building permits have been issued for the project. The undertaking undoubtedly is mortared in the region’s hardy multifamily market and the better-than-average returns coming from the self-storage sector.

Nolan Realty Investments of Ft. Worth is the developer of the tract at 2250 W. Vickery St. A “Coming Soon” sign reportedly has been posted on the property for several years. Apparently the time’s come, says Robert Riley, development director for the City of Ft. Worth, who confirmed “mini-warehouse” permits have been issued to E-Z Storage. Nolan Realty Investments did not return telephone calls about the six-building project.

Riley says the location could prove to be a winner. The nearest residential self-storage complex is several miles away and two others, one specifically document storage, are on the fringes of Ft. Worth’s downtown. Many would-be renters just aren’t keen on battling their way into town to access storage complexes, says Tyler Trahant, associate broker for Ft. Worth’s Richard D. Minker Co., the North Texas agent for Chicago-based Argus Self-Storage Sales Network. The West Vickery Street parcel, located in an industrial area, is close to Interstate 30 and relatively close to the downtown and several large residential developments.

Trahant says there are 700 such developments in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex and all are doing well except for the overbuilt areas of northeast Tarrant County and North Dallas. He says Texas occupancies are high and owners are seeing 10% to 12% cap rate returns. “They’re good investments,” he stresses to GlobeSt.com. “You can get close to office rents, but you don’t have the office expenses.”

According to Trahant, there are several first-time buyers in the region, seeking to channel dollars from the stock market into self-storage. It’s such a tight market that only five properties are being actively marketed in the 1,300-property inventory of North Texas. Still, he admits, it’s a tough market to track what is changing hands.

Trahant recently closed a deal from one Ft. Worth-based investor to another, snagging “north of $30 per sf” for a 16-year-old, 298-unit complex off White Settlement Road in Ft. Worth’s northwest submarket. Trahant represented the seller, Carroll Rowbotham, who also owns self-storage properties in Southlake and Grapevine. The four-building complex consisted of 28,653 sf of rentable sf that’s positioned on a 65,558-sf tract. It was nearly 88% occupied at the time it was sold to Richard G. Hollis, who represented himself.

Industry experts believe self-storage is practically recession-proof, says Trahant. In affluent times, consumers buy more and need a place to store castaways. In downturns, downsizing from houses to apartments will often rally a cry for storage space to hold onto valued possessions until good times return.

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