Easy Access looks for self storage investors

A FAMILY-owned self storage business is looking for equity investment to roll out a new drive-through concept.

Easy Access Self Storage, which has a 55,000 sq ft site in Heaton Moor, Stockport, has just opened a new site in Barton Dock Road, Trafford Park, where customers can drive up to their units to unload.

Bernard Bailey, who runs the business with his wife Sue, is promoting the units as a low cost base for small businesses as well as domestic customers who need storage space.

The site opened in February with 100 units on an 8,000 sq ft Peel Group-owned plot and it is already 60% full at rents of around £17/sq ft. Over the next two years the Baileys plan to add around 400 on a further 27,000 sq ft and roll the concept out across the region.

The first £300,000 phase was financed by Easy Access with backing from the Royal Bank of Scotland but the expansion will require £1.5m-£2m.

Mr Bailey said: “It’s a US idea but we wanted to bring the concept to the North West. The idea is to use the model with have in Trafford all over the North West. We’re looking at rolling out five to six sites over the next two years.

“We’re talking to RBS and other funding houses about doing that and we’re looking at equity investors.”

Earlier this month investment house Seneca Partners backed a management buyout at Liverpool self-storage firm Smart Storage.

The latest Self Storage Association UK survey, produced by Deloitte Real Estate, has shown that the North West market saw occupancy climb 6% to 69% last year. Deloitte said the increase had been driven by the improving housing market. But despite higher demand the average rent fell from £15.12/sq ft in 2012 to £14.43/sq ft.

The Baileys’ Easy Access site in Heaton Moor is 80% full at rents of £12.50-£13/sq ft.