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Typical Land Requirements For Self-Storage Ground-Up Development Options.

By Marc Goodin

Here is a very efficient Storage Authority franchise facility under design in FL. It consists of 5 buildings with 103,000 single-story mostly climate control units. A similar lot in NJ would be 80,000 sf or less.

There are a variety of land parcel sizes depending on your goals and cash equity. Below are multiple options to build an 80,000 gross sf = 64,000 net rentable sf facility. This assumes the goal is to have a lifestyle business (lucrative, job replacement income from a single facility without a full-time self-storage job)

Remember these are estimated averages so at least 30 percent of the time you may need more or less land depending. So, it is very important that both the land feature investigation and the zoning regulations review are part of your initial review of the property. The acres provided assume all land is usable with no restrictive zoning regulations. And the land is generally square in shape (475’ x 550’ not 300’ x 870’)

The acreage provided in all cases is the amount of usable acreage: The entire site is usable, no wetland on site, no easements, no 100-year floodplain, and no steep slope. No restrictive impervious lot coverage limits and no restrictive zoning requirements or setbacks (ie 20 foot side yards and 50-foot front & rear yards). It also assumes city water and city sewer.

As you consider these options you must consider multi-story typically cost more to build than a single story and rents for less than a single story per sf. And is more common than not that the acres of a given site are all usable acreages.

6+ Usable Acres: This is the most common Storage Authority Model

Multiple Single Story Buildings with both non-climate control and climate control.

Can be built in 1 or more phases.

Very few 6 acres sites meet the usable acreage of 6 acres without restrictive regulations and why many 80,000 gross sf facilities will be located on 7 plus acres.

One zoning regulation that can have a significant impact on the land area required is the Impervious lot coverage. If the impervious lot coverage (max percentage of building and paving lot coverage) is 25 percent for example you will need closer to 10 acres for 80,000 net sf.)

Restrictive stormwater renovation and detention requirements can add 0.5 to.75 acres

4.5+ Usable Acres:

One single-story building, mostly climate control.

Can be built in 1 or 2 phases but there will be an extra cost for 2 phases because pavement in phase 1 will need to be removed in phase 2

4+ Usable Acres:

Phase 1 is multiple single-story buildings and phase 2 is one multi-story building.

Can be built in 1 or 2 phases.

2+ Usable Acres:

3 story facility single phase

May be 1.5 acres if no side yards and or no storm drainage detention is required.

Given all the combinations of design parameters and landmines, including many not mentioned here, it is important you review every parcel of land in detail with your entire team.

The above are starting guidelines. Will there be instances where more or less acreage is going to be required? Absolutely! If you have the acreage noted above and other minimum site parameters including price, demand, street view, traffic, access, zoned for self-storage, city water and sewer, etc it is time for your engineer and architect to prepare an initial regulation review and prepared a draft concept plan to meet with the City to review. And then time to prepare your purchase Letter Of Intent. (LOI).

Get more information on Storage Authority Franchise at

Marc Goodin is the President of Storage Authority Franchising. He owns 3 self-storages he designed, built, and manages. He has been helping others in the self-storage industry for over 25 years. He can be reached at or directly at 860-830-6764 to answer your franchising, development, marketing, sales, and operations questions. His best selling self storage books are available on Amazon.


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