As appeared in Birmingham Business Journal
By Illyshia Parker – Commercial Real Estate Reporter,
Mar 8, 2023
Birmingham-headquartered firm Capital Growth Buchalter has formed a new affiliate company focused on the ever-growing self-storage industry.
Capital Growth StoreGuard develops, acquires and repositions self-storage facilities. The new company is based in Atlanta and spearheaded by Eric Buchalter and Mike Vahle.
“Our private ownership structure facilitates our agile, imaginative approach to deal-making and value creation. We bring strong relationship networks and depth of experience as we execute StoreGuard’s strategy to develop new Class-A self-storage assets and acquire value-add opportunities,” said Buchalter, who is a third-generation real estate development professional.
Vahle recently joined Buchalter to found StoreGuard after spending the past several years as a real estate development executive at Public Storage (NYSE: PSA), the industry’s largest owner/operator of self-storage facilities.
“The self-storage industry is highly fragmented, with more than 20,000 facilities in the U.S. being managed by non-institutional owner/operators. We see tremendous opportunity to upgrade these legacy facilities with climate-controlled units, enhanced security features and other modern amenities that our customers expect – just like we are doing at our Hinesville facility.”
StoreGuard recently closed on its first value-add acquisition in Hinesville, Georgia, an existing facility with 39,236 square feet of storage space and 358 units. StoreGuard is making significant investments to its Hinesville property to add more than 12,000 square feet and 137 new units, as well as improve security, cleanliness and operational efficiencies.
The company is also looking to invest in the Birmingham area in the near future.
“As the Birmingham metro area continues to thrive and grow, we are actively pursuing investment opportunities there to both build new facilities and acquire existing facilities that may require additional investment and improvements to reach market expectation,” Vahle told the BBJ.
The StoreGuard co-founder said that population migration and growth in the southeastern U.S. is a big demand driver for self-storage in the region. Additionally, customer adoption and usage of storage space increased dramatically during the pandemic. In the South, expectations are to have safe, clean, climate-controlled facilities that protect against heat and humidity.
The team aims to curb energy consumption through sustainable building design and construction practices. Motion-activated LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems and well-insulated buildings will be standard in its storage facilities. They are also exploring the use of solar panels on current and future projects.
Capital Growth Buchalter is a national construction, development, investment and management firm that has developed more than 1,500 real estate projects valued at $2.5 billion in 30 states at an average of 90 completed projects per year. The company has regional offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Lake Charles, Louisiana.