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Broccolini enters self-storage with new fund, Pandora facilities

Montreal-based developer and real estate investor has 3 new properties in its pipeline

Rendering of a new Pandora Self-Storage facility being developed under a new Broccolini fund in Kirkland, in Greater Montreal. (Courtesy Broccolini)
Rendering of a new Pandora Self-Storage facility being developed under a new Broccolini fund in Kirkland, in Greater Montreal. (Courtesy Broccolini)

Broccolini has launched a self-storage fund and has three self-storage projects in the pipeline in the Montreal area, including a 150,000-square-foot, multi-level facility under construction in Kirkland in the city’s West Island.

Operating under the Pandora Self-Storage platform, the $39-million project in Kirkland is slated for completion in April 2025. It will be the first self-storage facility in the municipality and will include co-working spaces for users.

Two other Pandora Self-Storage facilities are in the works in the Montreal area, in Pointe-Claire and Brossard, bringing the total under development to nearly 400,000 square feet.

“We always ask the question ‘Are there other asset classes that we should be targeting?’ and storage was one that we’ve been looking into for quite a while now,” says Jordan Dawson, director of investor relations at Broccolini. “(Self-storage is) an asset class that really presented a lot of significant upsides.”

In recent years, “a big part of Broccolini’s overall growth strategy has been to really look at what we’re able to do in our development funds (and in) expanding our investment strategies,” he says.

Broccolini sees high demand for storage

Broccolini launched its first Canadian real estate development fund in 2007 and has raised more than $1.8 billion in capital across eight development funds.

The Broccolini Self-Storage Fund LP aims to address the growing demand for high-quality self-storage solutions and a lack of supply in urban centres. 

“We’re going to be looking Canada-wide but with a specific focus on Quebec and Ontario,” Dawson says. The short-term focus, however, will be on Greater Montreal. 

“We think there’s an immediate need in Montreal. There’s a significant lack of supply; there’s a lot of pretty significant fundamentals and drivers of demand so we think the low-hanging fruit is really the Greater Montreal area.”

On a per capita basis, Montreal is one of the least supplied self-storage markets in Canada and about 70 per cent of the supply in the city is class-B facilities or below.  

The facilities will be “institutional-quality products,” says Robert Vineberg, president and operating partner of Pandora Self-Storage.

“We’re not a build-to-sell fund which is different from some of the other storage groups which build to flip it out. We’re looking to build the premier self-storage brand.”

Vineberg has previously held senior roles at Broccolini, Canderel and Public Storage and has been involved in more than $2 billion worth of real estate transactions over the last two decades.

The Kirkland self-storage development

The Kirkland self-storage facility, on Charles-E. Frosst Street and the Highway 40 service road, backs on to Prevel’s Lacey Green housing development. 

It will be energy efficient, with heavy security, 37 drive-up doors, and more than 1,100 lockers.

In addition, the facility will have between 2,500 and 5,000 square feet of co-working spaces “to support our customers and their growing needs,” Vineberg says.

“We want it to be for our customers to help them. You want people not to have to work out of their garage and a Tim Hortons.”

Dawson says while individual users are the primary clients of self-storage in Canada, there is a growing small business and e-commerce user base.

“Their inventory is growing and they have to move out of their home, but their business hasn’t grown enough to the point where they can get an actual office with warehouse. This is the perfect middle ground for them.”  

Other planned Pandora Self-Storage locations

Another Pandora Self-Storage facility with about 900 storage units is set to open in Q1 2025 at 195 Brunswick Blvd. in Pointe-Claire. It will be the only self-storage in the West Island suburb, Vineberg says.

About $5 million is being spent to convert a two-year-old, 115,000-square-foot, multi-level industrial building that was built for the cannabis sector but was never occupied. It has been used as temporary storage by a logistics company. 

After the sale closes on a vacant parcel of land on Matte Boulevard in Brossard in July, the site will also become a Pandora Self-Storage facility. The 120,000-square-foot development is expected to cost about $35 million. The South Shore facility is to be completed in 2025 or 2026. 

Dawson says investments in the three self-storage facilities have been funded by Broccolini and the assets will be rolled into the fund at cost. “We’re not rolling it in at fair market value and making a profit on this.”

A $1-million investment is the minimum required to participate in the open-ended fund. The short-term focus is to start with the equity required for seed assets and to keep raising funds as the portfolio grows, Dawson says. 

“We’ve always put our money where our mouth is. We’re typically the biggest investor in our funds, with a range of 15 to 30 per cent-plus of the committed capital,” he says.

“Our investors know when they’re investing in our fund they’re not just investing in a Broccolini fund; they’re investing alongside Broccolini.” 

Vineberg says the Pandora name echoes the ability of these facilities to get people who have too much stuff in their homes out of "Pandora’s Box" situations.

Once their belongings are moved into Pandora Self-Storage “the Pandora’s Box is where hope is restored.”

 



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