Self storage heavyweight CubeSmart has struck a $540 million deal to acquire eight properties in New York City, ramping up the company’s portfolio in a supply-starved market where pandemic-driven moves have boosted demand for storage space.
The NYSE-listed real estate investment trust announced that it would purchase the assets totaling 780,425 rentable square feet in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx from Storage Deluxe. The eight facilities are currently managed and branded by CubeSmart and include four fully stabilized properties. The portfolio is expected to fully stabilize by mid-2023.
CubeSmart currently owns or manages 1,256 storage properties nationwide. Following the closing of the its latest transaction, the company will expand its portfolio by five properties in Queens, two properties in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx. CubeSmart described the deal as the culmination of a 10-year strategic plan to set up a market-leading presence in New York City, where the company made a splash in 2011 by purchasing 16 self storage assets as part of a 22-asset, $560 million acquisition from Storage Deluxe.
The company opened its first development in the Bronx in 2014, followed by nine newly developed locations in the boroughs from 2015 to 2019, including the company’s first foray into Manhattan. Prior to the new transaction, the company had 37 properties in the five boroughs.
The metropolitan area, including New York City, parts of New York State and Northern New Jersey made up 21 percent of CubeSmart’s nationwide platform, according to an investment presentation last month.
The new transaction includes two facilities at Third Avenue and Sixth Street in Brooklyn’s growing Gowanus neighborhood; three properties at 21st Street, 47th Street and Woodside Avenue in Long Island City, Queens; two assets at Delong Street and Whitestone Expressway in the Flushing/College Point area of Queens; and a property on Broadway in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Around $201.7 million of the deal is payable in cash and roughly $183.7 million in Class B operating partnership units. The company will also assume around $156.6 million of existing fixed-rate secured debt.
In a presentation on the newly forged deal, CubeSmart indicated that self storage fundamentals in New York City have held up well during the pandemic, with occupancy growing through the third quarter. An increase in moves has driven demand higher and the company expects an economic resurgence following the crisis.
CubeSmart noted that New York City has the lowest square footage of self storage space per capita of the top 12 metro areas in the U.S., with supply per capita in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx less than half the national average. Overall supply has remained tight despite recent deliveries of new projects.
The supply constraints are expected to persist due to restrictions on development in Industrial Business Zones and the recent exclusion of self storage from eligibility for tax abatement under the Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program, the company said.