Storage Facility Goes Next to Homes in Shanghai Suburb

The Vanke Group is trying a new twist on the idea of warehouse self-storage by putting a project within a local high-end housing compound in suburban Shanghai-even though the self-storage business is still unfamiliar to many local residents.

Vanke Group, one of the largest real estate developers in China, is building the storage area in its Vanke City Garden complex in southwest Minhang District.

Residents will be able to rent cubicles to store extra appliances, furniture or other goods. The company plans to charge based on monthly rents for various sizes of yellow storage cubicles, each with its own lock, inside a 24-hour secured warehouse building.

While self-storage is not a new concept, and some companies have opened facilities in Shanghai and elsewhere in China, some residents interviewed yesterday still seemed unsure about it.

“I will be worried about the safety and intactness of consignments. I will not rent the service unless I ascertain the storage conditions,” said Qiang Ni, 24, who started a career with a foreign company in Shanghai two years ago and is sharing an apartment with her parents.

Appeal of convenience

The idea of a facility in her neighborhood, however, was appealing to Ni.

“I would also expect such a warehouse to be very close to my home for the sake of convenience,” she added.

Jin Aimiao, soon to graduate from a local university, said she might consider such a service if it is cost-efficient and safe. The 21-year-old rents a small flat.

“It’s still a new thing. If safety could not be ensured, I prefer storing spare stuff at home as it feels more secure,” she said.

Self-storage is widely used in many other countries, and some people even use it for their wine collections.

Vanke Group officials told Shanghai Daily they are still working on details such as rates and security. The warehouse will be under 24-hour surveillance with only authorized customers granted an electronic card to open the warehouse gate. Users have their own keys to lockers.

The housing compound workers told local media that the smallest locker will be about 1 cubic meter and the biggest spacious enough to hold a three-person sofa.