Saturday, September 8, 2012

$560 million acquisition in storage for CubeSmart

**CubeSmart in Norristown, PA just leased an available 7,000 sf of retail space to Colortyme for five years. Joe O'Donnell of OMEGA Commercial Real Estate, Inc. represented CubeSmart and Scott Borsky of The Borsky Group, LLC represented ColorTyme. 

by Natalie Kostelni

When CubeSmart completed a $560 million acquisition of 22 storage facilities late last month, the transaction catapulted the company into the top ranks nationally in its field.
CubeSmart is now one of the leading self-storage companies in the United States. Plus, the deal gave it a valuable foothold in one of that industry’s most desirable market — New York City.
The deal with Storage Deluxe was pivotal for CubeSmart. It est ablished the company as the largest owner and operator of storage facilities in New York – one of the most coveted and lucrative markets for self-storage companies. Short on space, New Yorkers use these extra units as an extension of their homes and a place for permanent storage: whether its seasonal items, such as skis or winter clothes, or extra furniture and holiday decorations that don’t fit in an apartment.
“We are where people have a need,” said Christopher P. Marr, president and chief investment officer.
Located in about 25,000 square feet at 460 E. Swedesford Road here, CubeSmart has quietly rolled itself up into one of the four leading self-storage real estate investment trusts. It has amassed roughly $2.3 billion worth of self-storage real estate and owns or manages 520 such facilities nationwide.
The company has gotten there by executing on a strategy it devised four years ago when it relocated to southeastern Pennsylvania from Ohio.
The multipronged plan has CubeSmart on the hunt for additional acquisitions. The company wants to bolster its presence in major metropolitan areas along the East Coast, along with Texas, Chicago and select cities in Arizona, Florida and on the West Coast. As part of that plan, the company will sell properties in less desirable markets, like southern Ohio, and deploy funds from those sales to make acquisitions.
CubeSmart had its beginnings as U-Store-It, a Cleveland self-storage company. U-Store-It tapped Dean Jernigan, an industry veteran, to oversee its operations in 2006. Jernigan sought out Marr as chief financial officer for U-Store-It.
Marr and Jernigan weren’t strangers. Between 1994 and 2002, they worked together at Storage USA, a Memphis, Tenn., company Jernigan had formed. Storage USA was eventually sold to GE Capital. At the time, Marr relocated to the Philadelphia area to become CFO at Brandywine Realty Trust from 2002 and 2006. Marr left the office real estate investment trust to join Jernigan to help run U-Store-It. For two years, Marr commuted to Cleveland, helping to right the storage company, which had gone public but was in disarray.
In 2008, the company relocated U-Store-it’s corporate headquarters to Wayne, formulated the strategy it’s currently executing and began to grow. It employs 200 people locally. Jernigan remains CEO though he has announced he will retire at the end of next year. Marr serves as CubeSmart’s president, CIO and chief operator officer.
Last September, the company changed its name to CubeSmart as a way to distinguish it from the competition.

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