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Prime Group buys second Canadian self-storage property, in Burnaby

U.S.-based firm owns Edmonton-area facility, plans more Canadian acquisitions

Robert Moser, Prime Group’s founder, principal and chief executive officer. (Courtesy Prime Group)
Robert Moser, Prime Group’s founder, principal and chief executive officer. (Courtesy Prime Group)

Prime Group Holdings, LLC has made its second Canadian acquisition with the purchase of a 1,018-unit self-storage facility comprised of 67,476 rentable square feet and 63 parking spaces in Burnaby, B.C.

Robert Moser — Prime Group’s founder, principal and chief executive officer — told RENX in an e-mail interview he wasn’t at liberty to name the vendor or purchase price of the property.

It was previously occupied by a business operating under the name of U-Lock Mini Storage, which has six other British Columbia locations.

Prime Group will manage the three-storey facility at 4240 Manor St., which was converted to self-storage use in 2015. One key attraction of the Metro Vancouver site is visibility from, and accessibility to, the Trans-Canada Highway.

Like all Prime Group-owned self-storage properties, it will operate under the Prime Storage brand.

“We thoroughly evaluated the Metro Vancouver market, and Burnaby in particular, which shows compelling demand drivers similar to those we have targeted in the U.S.,” Moser wrote. 

“Burnaby is an inner suburb of Vancouver with a dynamic economy. It is home to two major universities, leading tech companies, large retail centres, rapid transit lines, business parks and film studios.

"The densely populated market has driven strong rents as a result of both residential and retail demand for local self-storage options.”

The Burnaby facility was approximately 70 per cent occupied upon acquisition and Moser is confident Prime Group’s operations team can increase that number, along with the value of the company’s investment.

Prime Group entered Canada in December

The acquisition was made by the Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based, vertically integrated private equity real estate firm’s Prime Storage Fund III, LP. Prime Group raised $2.5 billion US for the fund in January 2023, well exceeding its initial $1.5-billion US target.

The same fund was used to acquire Prime Group’s first Canadian self-storage property in Sherwood Park, Alta., just east of Edmonton, in December.

That 64,050-square-foot single-storey building at 70 Broadview Rd. is comprised of 54,677 rentable square feet, featuring a combined 472 indoor climate-controlled and drive-up units, a management office and 22 parking spaces.

Completed in 2018, it sits on approximately five acres, with two acres vacant and available for future expansion. 

Future Canadian expansion

Prime Group raised its first private equity real estate fund dedicated to self-storage in 2015 and has a sizable presence across the United States, with facilities spanning 28 states and the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix.

It owns and operates 302 self-storage assets representing approximately 190,000 storage units containing more than 22.5 million rentable square feet.

Prime Group has more than 700 employees and manages assets worth more than $4 billion on behalf of a global institutional investor base. It is seeking to increase those numbers with more Canadian acquisitions.

“We are thrilled to continue strategically expanding Prime Group’s institutional portfolio and self-storage expertise in the Canadian market,” Moser wrote. 

“Vancouver and other major Canadian metros have many sub-markets with particularly affluent and growing populations, economic development and limited self-storage supply.

"We have a robust pipeline of opportunities and we look forward to continuing to purchase high-quality assets in similar cities across Canada.”

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