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LADERA RANCH, CA-Strategic Storage Trust Inc., a nontraded REIT that specializes in the self-storage industry, has formed new alliances designed to foster its growth and continues to seek properties for acquisition. SSTI, which has grown to more than 3,000 storage units and more than 407,000 square feet of space in the year since it was launched, has formed two strategic alliances with Centershift Store and Penske Truck Rental. Centershift is a leader in self-storage rental management software, which will be used to manage SSTI’s entire network of facilities nationwide, and the new SSTI-Penske alliance will offer customers of SSTI-owned self-storage centers an opportunity to renting moving trucks at SSTI facilities.

H. Michael Schwartz, SSTI’s chairman and chief executive officer, notes that the REIT has grown despite “the challenging economic climate and turbulent credit markets.” Schwartz observes that the self-storage industry has historically exhibited recession resistant traits, a story that “resonates with investors looking for alternatives to a volatile stock market,” the SSTI chairman says.

The SSTI strategy is to identify key self-storage properties nationwide for acquisition, with prospects of capitalizing on creating greater efficiency in a sector that is comparatively stable but also fragmented among many smaller owner-operators. The REIT’s most recent growth includes the $9.9 million acquisition of three Best Self-Storage facilities located in the greater metropolitan area of Cincinnati. The three new properties brought an additional 1,295 storage units and 211,000 square feet of leasable space into the SSTI portfolio.

All three Best Self-Storage properties are located in Northern Kentucky within 15 miles of downtown Cincinnati. The portfolio purchase was funded in part by two seller financed promissory notes. The notes bear a fixed interest rate of five percent per annum during the first three years of their five-year terms and six percent per annum during the final two years of their five-year terms. US Commercial LLC, the sponsor of SSTI, manages a portfolio of more than five million square feet of commercial properties, including 3.2 million square feet of self-storage facilities, with a combined market value of over $588 million.

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