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The Academy Presents podcast

Nov 13, 2023

What clever ways can investors repurpose old buildings into profitable self-storage facilities?


Angel Williams interviews self-storage expert Tom Dunkel about acquiring and converting old buildings into lucrative self-storage facilities. They discuss ways investors can add value to existing properties as well as capitalize on excess parking and land.


With a background in corporate finance and nearly 30 years of real estate and investment experience, Tom Dunkel brings extensive knowledge and expertise to Belrose Storage Group.


Growing the company from a start-up to a world-class organization, Tom has specialized in discounted asset opportunities nationwide since 2006. His financial savvy, open communicative manner and integrity have helped alternative investors achieve their wealth-building goals.


Tom is the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of Belrose Storage Group - a seasoned team of real estate investment professionals that specializes in acquiring underperforming self-storage facilities in the Northeast, South, and Midwest U.S. and turning around their performance to achieve high-teens, tax-advantaged returns to its high-net-worth investor partners in a condensed time frame of 2-3 years.


(00:02:00 - 00:05:15) Understanding the Self-Storage Industry

  • 50%+ of self-storage facilities are owned by "mom and pop" operators who focus on keeping units full vs maximizing rents. This creates an opportunity for professional operators.
  • Acquiring underperforming facilities and leveraging technology to improve operations is a key value-added strategy.
  • Having excess land to expand storage is another way to boost NOI and valuation.


(00:05:15 - 00:10:00) Construction and Design Considerations

  • There are options for climate-controlled spaces ranging from retrofits to specialized single-story, drive-up units.
  • Higher ceilings and large bay doors cater to contractor storage needs.
  • Repurposing old retail boxes, shopping centers, and parking garages can optimize unused space.


(00:10:00 - 00:21:00) Parking and Security Enhancements

  • Ample parking can enable events/activities to draw traffic. One operator held a carnival in a former car dealership lot!
  • Improved lighting, cameras, and gate access controls boost safety and appeal to female tenants.
  • Executive RV and boat storage is a growing opportunity.


"The higher your net operating income at a facility, the higher the valuation is going to be." - Tom Dunkel

"There's a lot of creativity going on in the self-storage world these days." - Tom Dunkel


Connect with Tom:


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