Columbo and The Art of Site Selection

Written by: Chris Jernigan Posted: 5/18/2016
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A few decades and many storage facilities ago there was a little TV show called Columbo in which the protagonist, Detective Columbo, was known for using the phrase "just one more thing". Columbo used this phrase as a means to induce the bad guy of the piece to proffer the information that Columbo needed to make the collar. And Columbo always made the collar.

In the course of my career, I have had the good fortune to study hundreds of potential storage development sites around the country both via Google Earth and in person with developers. In the usual course of business, a developer might bring us maybe five sites to look at, which we do and many are good if not always great. However, I have found that many times there is one more site the developer has in mind, indeed, "one more thing". Often, it is the best site of the group.

What has been the catalyst the past decade that now allows a "one more thing" site be great site? Three words - Global Positioning System. As we know GPS is ubiquitous today. The bulk of storage customers will 1) "find" you on the Internet and 2) use GPS to find you in the real world. Gone are the days when traffic count was the "be all end all" of site selection.

This opens up a new world of possibilities: the dead end street, the light industrial area, the awkward piece of land at the edge of another development and any other myriad of situations. The key point to remember is what ultimately makes a "one more thing" site a profitable site is the same for all sites - great demographics. A site with little drive by traffic but with off the chart demographics in the submarket is a winner in the age of GPS. And the best thing of all, these sites tend to be cheaper, easier to entitle and maybe more available than a main site in your submarket.

So, when you are looking for development sites, think "one more thing" and you might make a profitable collar much like Detective Columbo!

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