What do you think of when you think of a storage facility? Do you see endless rows of identical units with the same doors, all tucked away behind the same tall security fence? It’s true – storage facilities typically aren’t the most eye-catching buildings on the block.
That’s not always the case, however. There are indeed some eye-catching storage facilities out there, from converted military bases to stunning island retreats. Here are ten of them throughout the United States.
1. City Center Self Storage
The building that now houses City Center Self Storage was once the largest commercial warehouse between New York and Chicago. Built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1906, its proximity to the city’s railways, its ample space, and the ease of navigation afforded by 48 freight elevators made the structure a popular place for industrial storage.
Its security features made it one of the safest places for storage in Pittsburgh, with the sixth floor being used during World War II to store military ammunition. The building experienced a resurgence in 1963. According to the City Center Self Storage website, “Renovations transformed the historic complex into a cutting-edge office space for architects, photographers, and entrepreneurs, and established it as a strong stable of local, family-owned businesses.”
City Center Self Storage is now the latest in a long line of businesses to occupy the historic building, transforming the space into a large, secure self storage facility.
2. Hangar 2
Hangar 2 was once called Lowry Air Force Base, housing two massive hangars. In its modern incarnation, the large space has become a dining and office district right in the heart of Denver with a solar-powered storage facility at its center. The facility itself is huge, with hallways large enough to drive a vehicle right up to your unit.
Surrounding the large storage building are a number of restaurants and offices, with plenty of room for future growth. There’s even a beer garden!
3. West Theater Storage
West Theater Storage looks more like a movie theater than a storage facility. That’s because, once upon a time, it was one. The owner, Mark Anderson, bought it in 2012 in a state of disrepair. The old Barberton, Ohio theater had no electricity or heat, and the roof and walls leaked. He got to work restoring the building, and now it houses indoor storage on its basement level.
4. Citadel Caverns
Of all the places to convert to self storage, a secret underground cavern system used for clandestine storage by the U.S. military is not at the top of the list. Until 2013, when Citadel Caverns was created, the Atchison, Kansas caves housed reserve farm product, specialized military tools, medical supplies, and classified documents.
Now the underground space is used for a myriad of reasons. While the new business’s focus is on commercial storage, there are also above-ground RV parking spaces, a plethora of rentable offices, and even a laser tag arena. That’s right – a laser tag arena!
5. Gotham Mini Storage
Not all cool storage facilities are converted from interesting historical sites. Gotham Mini Storage is a new facility in downtown New York that catches the eye not only with its striking appearance but also with its modern technological innovations.
Going a step further than most other green storage facilities, Gotham Mini Storage has installed a “cogeneration” power plant that captures surplus heat for re-use. Instead of wasting the energy, it is instead harnessed to heat water and create a more efficient system that leaves less of an environmental footprint.
It also offers some stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.
6. Garage Plus Storage
Vehicle storage is one thing, but what Garage Plus Storage does is something else entirely. From year-round heated concrete floors to a car wash large enough for semi-trucks and RVs, their facility in Spanaway, Washington is a car nut’s dream come true.
The owners have built a strong community with their facility clubhouse and frequent car shows. It’s not a place where people go to drop their cars off for several months. It’s a 24/7 workshop and hang-out spot. They even have showers, so you don’t have to go home smelly and covered in grease!
7. All Aboard Storage
Go big or go home, right? All Aboard Storage doesn’t just offer vehicle storage – they offer airplane storage. Situated just down the street from the Daytona Beach International Airport, All Aboard Storage is the perfect place for keeping personal aircraft or even running a small flight school.
That’s not the only innovative feature they offer. They also have traditional storage units with a roll-up door in the back and a storefront at the other end, so a business can set up shop and sell their inventory right where they store.
Plus it’s in sunny Daytona Beach. Who wouldn’t want to keep their stuff in such a pretty place?
8. Bridge Storage and Art Space
Even in this day and age of modern technology, you don’t need to be on the cutting edge to be a great storage facility. Bridge Storage and Art Space found their niche in another market – the arts.
By embracing local bands and artists, they’ve solidified their place in the Richmond, California community. Their self storage spaces double as art studios and music rehearsal rooms. They even host art shows in their large gallery.
9. Storage Village Self Storage
In another merging of art and storage, Storage Village took a different approach. Instead of displaying their paintings inside the facility, they painted them right onto the walls!
In an event last April, their Bethesda, Maryland location invited local artists to decorate their previously uniform roll-up doors. The result is a colorful display of community pride and creativity.
10. Island Park Storage
If I had to choose just one, however, it would be Island Park Storage. Located on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, the large facility specializes in personal and commercial vehicle storage, though they offer smaller indoor units as well. Perhaps their most alluring feature is the free boat launch. You can sail away directly from your storage unit!
“We thought we wouldn’t get a lot of household renters because of the location,” said owner Alex Rozkin when I spoke with him. It’s a great location for businesses, he explained, because it’s cheaper than storage locations downtown and distributors from the east side of the bay can avoid the toll to cross the bridge. “Then we started marketing it as ‘storage with a view,’” he said. “Now it’s about 50-50.”
Between the cool Mediterranean-like climate, the location – surprisingly convenient to access despite being on an island – and the verdant property, it’s surely one of the most magnificent storage experiences in the nation. Not to mention they’re completely off the power grid, functioning entirely off of solar and wind energy. And just look at that nighttime view of San Francisco!
It’s not always apparent from the outside – not all facilities are as colorful as Storage Village – but the world of self storage can be quite exciting. From incredible facilities to amazing storage auction finds, there’s always something to keep us entertained over here at StorageFront!