CALGARY, AB, Feb, 2021 /CNW/ - Mini Mall Storage Properties Trust has reached a significant milestone just as it celebrates its first anniversary: amassing $100 million in assets under management (AUM).
The mutual fund trust, an offering held by Calgary-based Avenue Living Asset Management, was launched in February 2020 to invest in class B and C self storage properties across western Canada. During its first year, the Trust has acquired 26 properties — nearly one million square feet of space — across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
The Trust's growth comes during a year when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn left many Canadians uncertain about the future. Adam Villard, CEO of Mini Mall Storage Properties Trust, suggests there were several factors that contributed to the Trust's success.
"We invest in something tangible," says Villard. "We operate in a recession-resistant industry — we've seen little to no reduction in the occupancy and revenue in most of our markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession that came with it."
The self storage industry in Canada is highly fragmented; properties are often owner-operated or "mom and pop" businesses that lack access to capital required to effectively grow the business. The Trust aims to bring consolidation to the industry — it invests in properties others might overlook and maximizes value through capital expenditures.
The Trust has access to Avenue Living's vertically integrated platform, which acts as an asset accelerator and includes call-centre services, legal expertise and business analysis. "The platform has definitely allowed us to grow by leaps and bounds," says Villard. But he also says the Trust has also spent its first year developing a top-tier team of its own, which includes "a robust operations team and an acquisitions team that is second to none in Canada."
Now that the first year is on the books, MMSP is looking towards the future — and continuing the consolidation of self-storage assets across Canada. The Trust has a goal of $300 million AUM in the next two years, and Villard says it will also continue to expand existing facilities with the development of buildings in markets that support growth. The Trust is also focused on fostering the growth of a best-in-class team that can focus on developing and building long-term revenue gains and increasing efficiencies to reduce costs.
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