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Meet Devin Beasley of Cushman & Wakefield

Toy Storage Nation proudly presents this conversation with Devin Beasley in advance of the TSN Executive RV and Boat Storage Workshop, April 5, in Las Vegas. As an executive director on the self-storage team of Cushman & Wakefield, Devin specializes in due diligence, development, marketing, dispositions and acquisitions of self-storage and RV/boat storage. During his upcoming presentation, he will be discussing why investing in luxury RV and boat storage is so desirable and whether or not an entrepreneur should build solo or invest in a partnership.
What makes RV and boat storage so enticing for developers? And investors?
It would be difficult to detail all the reasons why RV and boat storage is so attractive for developers and investors, but I can list a few. REITS and institutional capital are only just beginning to enter the space, which means there is a strong runway for new, mom and pop owners to identify opportunities to own without the fear of institutional competition.
Because the RV and boat storage market is undersupplied compared to the number of vehicles that need to be stored, facilities more often than not are seeing extremely fast lease up when compared to traditional storage, as long as the correct due diligence is completed.
What makes RV and boat storage an attractive investment, compared with self-storage, multi-housing and other forms of commercial real estate? 
The RV and boat storage market is undersaturated, so developers/new acquirers can still see strong returns with minimal competition, allowing rental rates to remain strong. Also, the Class A RV and boat storage facility is still a relatively new product, so owners are still experimenting on how to increase returns with various amenities. As of now, the sky’s the limit!
What are the most common mistakes new developers might make when jumping into their first project? 
  • Underestimating the amount of time to get approvals and permits before construction can begin;
  • Underwriting rent and occupancy growth, etc., too aggressively in order to make their development work for their lenders; and
  • Incorrect site selection.
How are interest rates impacting the industry? What kind of advice do you give to newcomers trying to navigate the financial components as smoothly as possible?
A major impact is the cost of borrowing. Developers aren’t seeing the same type of returns that we saw two years ago, which means individuals must be more conservative and conscientious at how they are looking at deals.
Also – lenders have tightened how they are prepared to lend and what kind of deals they are looking at now because of the rate increase, so it may take longer to get approval.
My advice would be to speak with multiple lenders to understand the lending market and to have all necessary documents needed for lending approval prepared as quickly as possible. The market is constantly shifting currently, and time is of the essence to get a strong rate and terms.
What are the best strategies locating and designing a successful site? 
  • Involve experience and highly recommended consultants from day one. Hiring the correct consultant can make or break development.
  • Understand the trade area and become familiar with the development process. Even though you are going to work with experienced consultants, you still want to be able to be involved and make comments. 
How does Cushman & Wakefield contribute to a developer's success? 
Think of us as a partner. We can come in on day one and work with a developer throughout the entire process–from site selection to preliminary underwriting, etc.–in  order to help avoid or navigate as many issues as possible, ultimately preparing the owner for a successful opening.
What services does Cushman & Wakefield provide to the RV and boat storage industry? 
We provide a whole range of services including, but not limited to Advisory, Investment Sales, Market Studies, Due Diligence for Acquisition, Appraisal & Valuation, Equity, Debt and Structure Finance.
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