Self-storage market reaching saturation in NHBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Sunday News Correspondent
March 18. 2017 7:21PM
MERRIMACK - Self-storage facilities have become a hot trend in New Hampshire, but there are indications that the market is now at capacity, or perhaps even overloaded with storage units.
"Right now the state is saturated," said Chris Ross, owner of Synergy Self Storage in Merrimack.
Synergy Self Storage opened in 2014 at 403 Daniel Webster Highway, and is now the largest facility of its kind in the state.
Synergy was originally constructed as a two-story building, but the company recently completed the second phase that added three additional floors.
The now five-level, climate-controlled building offers 900 separate units, drive-up access, a high-tech surveillance system with digital high-definition video, computer-controlled building access and more.
Synergy Self Storage is just one of several storage centers to be constructed in recent years in the southern portion of the state.
Bluebird Self Storage recently opened a three-level facility on Brown Avenue in Manchester that includes drive-up units, climate-controlled storage and free pick-up service. Bluebird is constructing 700 more units on South River Road in Bedford and plans a Hooksett facility as well.
Recently, a conceptual proposal to construct two self-storage centers on residential property on Sunset Lane in Bedford was introduced, but town planners have already voiced concerns about the project.
Last year, Nashua planners approved a project that would convert a former racquetball club on West Hollis Street into a storage facility. And, in Londonderry, Uncle Bob's Self Storage recently opened its own facility.
The self-storage boom began around 2000, but many of those early projects were initially put on hold, according to Joel Sikkila of Synergy Self Storage. "There was pent-up demand that was never addressed."
Sikkila says the recent construction boom is compensating for what wasn't built a decade ago.
At 144,000 square feet of space, the Merrimack storage facility is one of the largest exclusively climate-controlled self-storage facilities in New England, said Sikkila, adding it is larger than similar facilities near Boston and Hartford, Conn.
While the demand for self-storage facilities may be leveling out, experts in the field say everyone, at some point in their lifetime, will need additional storage space.
"There has been a paradigm shift in the last five or six years in terms of supply and demand for self-storage," said Joe Mendola, senior vice president with NAI Norwood Group in Bedford. "The occupancy has shifted from 85 to 87 percent to 92 to almost 100 percent. When you get that height, you invite new construction and new development."
Millennials have become the bread and butter of the self-storage business, according to Mendola, who said many of them have not yet purchased homes, but have the expendable income to purchase items such as snowmobiles and other toys that need to be stored safely.
"I would say New Hampshire is pretty much in equilibrium," Mendola said. "I don't think we need any new development. I think we have supplied the New Hampshire market fully."