Redevelopment: West Coast Beaverton Self Storage, Beaverton, Oregon
2018 Facility Of The Year
When a company purchases a self-storage facility with redevelopment in mind, the process typically doesn’t take very long. However, West Coast Beaverton Self Storage is an exception to the rule.
in a small lot with easement issues and the worst recession since the Great
Depression, and redevelopment plans for West Coast Beaverton Self Storage was a
decade in the making.
$4.8 redevelopment was worth the wait. The 37-year-old facility is now one of
the premier self-storage facilities in town and rivals any new facility being
built from the ground up.
property expanded to 547 units with 52,380 square foot of rentable space. The
facility also has an 800-square-foot modern office and retail space.
A Long And
Coast Beaverton Self Storage is located at 9540 SW 125th Ave. in
Beaverton, Ore. Originally built in 1980, Beaverton Self Storage was a
first-generation self-storage facility with non-descript metal buildings and an
outdated office with manager quarters.
was already showing its age when West Coast Self Storage purchased the property
in 2007 with the idea of refurbishing or redevelopment. West Coast Self
Storage, which was founded in 2006 and is based in Washington State, currently
manages 55 facilities, the majority in Washington State with the others located
in Oregon and California.
acquired Beaverton initially for two reasons,” says Steve Tangney, vice
president of real estate and a founding partner. “The price was right, and the
property appeared to be inappropriately managed.”
describes the condition of the property then as “tired,” lacking in curb appeal,
and showing signs of deferred maintenance.
former owner, who had another full-time job and only worked the facility on the
side, agreed to sell the 107-unit property. The facility was also built on a
12-foot structural grid and the units were non-standard size. “We put in a
full-time manager, but the property was too small to justify the expense of
having someone there full time, so we began working with the city, exploring
redevelopment options,” says Tangney.
Coast had a background in redevelopment and began exploring many options,
including demolishing the entire site and starting over, as well as just
demolishing the front half of the property and constructing a larger, more
modern multi-story building. “We wanted to preserve some of the single-story
buildings to the rear of the property, if possible,” says Tangney.
explains that complicating the effort was a slope of about six feet across the
site, which meant new retaining walls and ramps had to be incorporated into the
design. “That increased cost and reduced efficiency,” says Tangney.
Vasquez, partner and senior architect with Mildren Design Group in Tigard, Ore.,
was on the job from the outset, trying to come up with a plan that would be
feasible for the site. Mildren has been designing projects in the self-storage
industry for the past dozen years.
tried to put the pieces together; it was like a jigsaw puzzle,” recalls Vasquez.
“When we thought we’d come up with a solution, we just weren’t able to get the
design to pencil.”
says they went through eight different site plans. “We thought the last one
would work, but it had steep ramps,” says Tangney. “We applied to the city for
entitlements, but, by that time, we found ourselves in the middle of the
was in 2009; West Coast Self Storage put the project on hold and decided to
wait out the recession. By that time, they had cleaned up the site
significantly and put fresh coats of paint on the facility until they could
come up with a better option.
The Missing Piece
2014, Tangney and his partner learned the adjacent property, a coin operated
car wash, was going to be put up for sale. The car wash site was 0.6 acres and,
combined with the Beaverton Self Storage property, would give them 1.6 acres
total to redevelop the site.
would also increase our street frontage by 40 percent and improve our access to
the site,” says Tangney.
first hurdle West Coast had to overcome was the fact that the adjacent site
wasn’t zoned the same as Beaverton Self Storage, and self-storage wasn’t an
allowed use. “After some initial discussions with city staff, we felt the
rezone and entitlement effort was worth the risk,” says Tangney.
luck of obtaining the adjacent property at a fair price was still with West
Coast; they obtained the property for $375,000. “We made our offer and were
able to negotiate a purchase contract with the car wash owner that was subject
to obtaining city entitlements,” says Tangney.
Then the real work began.
and the civil engineer at TM Rippey Consulting Engineers in Portland, Ore., began
work again on what would eventually be a half-dozen more site plans. In the
meantime, an eight-month process began with the city to obtain zoning, a
conditional use permit and parking variance (self-storage typically doesn’t
require the amount of parking as other developments). “There was no conflict,
but it was a long process with design review and all of the rest,” says
design that finally worked for the site is a two-story/three-story split level
that can be accessed from either the first or second floors. There is one ramp,
and the main entry has a covered loading bay.
the other side, higher up on the grade, there is a loading bay to the second
floor for easy access. There are two elevators that serve all three floors.
area around the self-storage facility is mostly multi-family with pitched roof
designs. “We needed the facility to blend in with the pitched roofs for design
review,” says Tangney. “The architectural design fits in well with the pitched
says the civil engineer had a large role in this project. “They played a big
part in getting grades to work and blend in the existing grades,” says Vasquez.
“We also had to blend in the design with the surrounding residential area while
maintaining some characteristics of self-storage.”
design not only used similar pitched roofing, but Vasquez incorporated smaller
windows into the plan in a nod to the surrounding residential. The roof was
designed with the signature blue of West Coast Self Storage, and the
pre-finished metal panels were mixed up with a variation of complimentary
were also run horizontally and some vertically,” says Vasquez. “We met with the
city to talk all of this through, and it was really a coordinated effort
between our team and the city. They felt it reflected the quality and
durability of the project.”
who has a lot of experience in designing self-storage, feels these types of high-quality
projects are necessary in order to continue to change perceptions of what
people may think of self-storage. “My favorite part of this project was our client’s
OK to take some liberties with the design and including us in all of the
meetings with the city, which allowed for clear direction and open
communication,” says Vasquez. “We were able to explore and come up with
something unique and meet both the city and client’s standards. It goes with
clients realizing in order to put facilities in neighborhoods, we sometimes
have to go the extra mile to make it work.”
bright blue roofs weren’t in character with the neighborhood, but Vasquez says
the city was on board with the color choice. “It’s something done thoughtfully
and true to West Coast Self Storage,” explains Vasquez. “The city realized it
was worth it to do something a little different.”
plan also allowed the facility to leave about 50 additional units in three of
the original buildings, while demolishing the original office and manager
quarters (which was not replaced).
began in May 2016 with the demolition of the car wash next door, as well as
preparing the storage facility site for the new building.
this process, all the tenants at Beaverton Self Storage were moved to other
West Coast Self Storage facilities. This was a delicate process; the store
manager, Jamie Bouzan, who had been at the Beaverton facility for several
years, handled the transfers.
the process began, Tangney says they found another glitch in the plan. A neighboring
convenience store modified the easement to ensure the store was visible from
the road once the car wash and the self-storage facility was originally
constructed. “We had to contact the new owner of the convenience store to
request the old easement be modified,” says Tangney. “We expected it would be
an easy thing to agree to, but she contacted an attorney.”
attorney then requested $50,000 from West Coast to modify the easement. “That
was a surprise,” says Tangney. “It’s always important to do due diligence to
make sure everyone knows all of the easement that affect the property.”
says they were able to negotiate the fee down to $25,000, but that added
construction expense not originally in the budget.
CON LLC, in Issaquah, Wash., was the general contractor on the project. The
company has worked on at least 50 self-storage projects in Washington, Oregon,
and Arizona. They previously had performed work for West Coast Self Storage,
and they are currently working on a project for them in Seattle.
always a challenge working on an existing facility, as you don’t know what
you’re dealing with when you have existing buildings,” says Robert Power, vice
president of SEA CON. “Controlling site access is a big issue on such
to Tangney there weren’t any surprises once dirt was moved on the site except a
minor issue with a utility line. “It wasn’t disruptive,” he says.
Steel in Carlsbad, Calif., which works extensively in self-storage and has
worked on previous projects with West Coast throughout the Pacific Northwest,
including Oregon, Washington, and California, provided the metal structures and
Wright, president of MAKO Steel, says the Beaverton facility was pretty
straightforward with regards to remodeling the three-existing building to the
back of the property. Those buildings received new roofing and trim. “Those
existing buildings were a very quick and easy process,” says Wright.
the metal for the project was manufactured by McElroy Metal. Wright really
enjoyed this project as his company was also involved from the beginning, which
allowed them to give input during the process.
of the challenges came with the onset of winter. “In the Northwest, you always
have weather issues,” says Tangney. “We lost a week with snow, which is
somewhat to be expected in the winter.”
adds that it’s very important when doing construction in the winter to make
sure all the job site prep work is done before winter. “It’s important to get
asphalt down and other site prep as it could slow your project down,” says
ran into construction delays, but most of that was due to the current reality
of getting sub-contractors and materials on time. “All projects today take
longer than expected because everyone is busy,” says Tangney. “You can’t get
materials and crews to perform like you did during the recession when there
were just so many to be happy to have a job. These days, if you need a
contractor, you call them two weeks early and hope they don’t show up two weeks
project was forecasted to last 11 months but took 13.
the new buildings were constructed, Janus International in Mission Viejo, Calif.,
installed the doors and hallway systems. “We replaced the roll-up doors on the
old buildings, which were almost non-functional,” says Jeff Higashi, president
of the western division for Janus.
new building also has cylinder lock doors in the bright West Coast Self Storage
says MKE & Associates in Portland, Ore., was responsible for the mechanical,
electrical, and plumbing. “They worked with the engineers to use proper LED
lighting fixtures, which are beneficial to energy savings,” explains Vasquez.
“We wanted to keep them as efficiently designed as possible with the latest
LLC, in Kent, Wash., installed the security system, which included 34 cameras
throughout the facility. There is an access control system at the entry and
exit with a keypad at the front door and at the elevator to restrict access to
each floor. “Security is always a top priority at WCSS; they take the time to
review the project’s challenges and circumstances,” says John Wollam, president
The Cherry On Top
After West Coast received entitlements on the property, but before construction began, a cell phone company approached them proposing to place a cell tower on the property. “We didn’t need the cell tower to make the project pencil, but it certainly was the cherry on top,” says Tangney. “It wasn’t a big deal; we were committed to the project anyway. The full lease for land is a little over $2,000 per month.”
The two parties negotiated the lease rate of the land, as well as two permanent leases on 10-by-10 units the cell tower company uses for its equipment. The cell tower company even handled the conditional use permit from the city.
The cell tower company is not a cell phone company, so it sells use of the tower to carriers. The lease it negotiated with West Coast included two tiers, one for each of the carriers that are allowed on the tower. The company now has two carriers and is paying the full lease amount, which adds to the ancillary income.
the time West Coast Beaverton Self Storage re-opened in June 2017, there was
already significant buzz in the community, says John Eisenbarth, vice president
of operations for West Coast Self Storage. “We reached out to all of the
community schools, churches, apartments, and surrounding businesses,” he says.
of the keys was the ability to retain Bouzan, who provided consistency with
knowledge of the store and surrounding target market.
some efforts focused on gaining new customers, Bouzan also focused on getting
the tenants back who were moved during construction. “It’s a testament to
Jamie’s incredible work when we closed down how well he did that with care,”
says Aaron Potter, district manager. “Many of those people came back.”
The Beaverton facility is currently 80 percent occupied, and Eisenbarth is confident they will reach their goal of 85 percent by the end of 2018, or shortly thereafter. “Kudos goes to all of our marketing department for using all of our available resources to effectively market the property,” says Eisenbarth.
Facility Owner: West Coast Self Storage
Builder: Seacon LLC
Architect: Mildren Design Group, P.C.
Accounting System / Management Software: storEDGE
Security System: Storeguard, LLC
Metal Structure / Roof: Mako Steel
Hallways / Doors: Janus International
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell is a freelance journalist based in the Ozark Mountains. She is a regular contributor to MiniCo’s publications. Her business articles have also appeared in Entrepreneur, Aol.com, MSN.com, and The Kansas City Star.