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Trends in lifestyle storage defined by Overcash Demmitt Architects

Morningstar mixed use ‘LifeStyle Storage’, South End, Charlotte

Morningstar mixed use ‘LifeStyle Storage’, South End, Charlotte

Overcase Demmitt Architects has announced several new building designs for the burgeoning lifestyle storage market.
“Changes are underway in self storage building design and Overcash Demmitt Architects (ODA) are at the forefront of this evolution and have coined the phrase “Lifestyle Storage” to help differentiate and define this new storage product from the utilitarian storage units of old,” shares, Stephen Overcash principal at Overcash Demmitt Architects.
Demographics: The current boom in LifeStyle Storage is being driven by both Millennials and Baby Boomers.
Millennials: This group is renting very small apartments in order to be “close to the action” but they have lots of toys: multiple bicycles, kayaks, jet skis, skis, band equipment, etc. They treat LifeStyle Storage as an extension of their apartments and visit these urban lockers multiple times a week with their apartments often within walking distance of their storage units.
Baby Boomers: This group is border-line hoarders and doesn’t like to get rid of their ancestor’s furniture, artwork, cars, etc. Once the Baby Boomers start downsizing, as empty-nesters, they need places to store their things in hopes that their millennial children will eventually take possession.
Location: Traditional Mini Storage used to be a destination use. If you needed Storage Space, you went to the Yellow Pages and identified a location near your residence. They were typically on cheap lots, with little exposure and often located behind Walmart or other ‘Big Box’ retailers. Today, lifestyle storage locations are often on prominent vehicular arteries, or corner lots in prime locations and in close proximity to dense residential developments.
Architecturally Significant: The traditional storage facilities of years past were utilitarian structures, often pre-engineered buildings or plain boxes, with little architectural imagination. LifeStyle Storage facilities are architecturally significant with accentuated entrances, color, LED lighting, a mixture of materials and windows. It is important for Lifestyle Storage facilities to be “good neighbors” and “fit in” architecturally. Many locations require presentations to local Architectural Review Boards to ensure that the lifestyle storage facilities are an interesting addition to the existing streetscape and contextually appropriate.
Mixed Use: lifestyle storage facilities are often “mixed use” with commercial on the first floor. This allows the building to be friendly and engaging and activate the street, becoming more pedestrian-friendly. The first floor commercial is typically a retail or restaurant, but can be quasi-retail or office.
Amenities: Lifestyle storage has more amenities than Traditional Mini Storage. Lifestyle storage can have Starbucks Coffee to offer, along with vending / snacks, lounge seating, Wi-Fi and music. Places for the family to relax while others are unloading. Traditional Mini-Storage typically contained a front desk and a place to buy cardboard boxes, packaging tape or locks for your unit.
Uses: Lifestyle Storage appeals to a wider range of uses. Many find the Lifestyle Storage, due to having excellent security, are good places to store wine, art, antiques, etc. Others are finding the larger units a good “garage away from home” for business start-ups, to store vehicles or to begin “Garage Bands” when the band members get kicked out of their own garages for making too much noise.

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