Gotham Mini Storage will be changing the way self-storage business is done in Manhattan. Owners Steve Schwartz and Jack Guttman couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of their newest self storage facility in Manhattan. We were recently interviewed by C.J. Hughes of the New York Times for an article published on January 22, 2013. Following is an excerpt of the interview:
Although self-storage facilities have become an inescapable fixture of modern New York, the city still remains underserved with places to stow old futons, tennis rackets and record albums, according to developers, investors and industry analysts. The shortage of storage is most acute in Manhattan, which is a Catch-22, they add, because few need extra space more than those who live on this densely settled island, where apartments are often skimpy on closets.
Gotham Mini Storage, which opened at 501 10th Avenue, near West 39th Street, hopes to bring relief to those cluttered homes. Gotham is the first in a planned line of outposts from Broadway Storage.
Currently offering 1,000 units on the fourth floor of the seven-story building, with an additional 1,000 units planned on each of the fifth and sixth floors, Gotham is the first self-storage facility to open in Manhattan in about a decade and defies a trend of recent closings in areas where new development often replaced the facilities.
Gotham sells storage supply in its ground-floor retail area. Clean gray carpet covers upstairs hallways, which seem a far cry from the dingier spaces portrayed on A&E’s popular reality show “Storage Wars” and its spinoffs.
To set itself apart, Gotham will offer free doughnuts to tenants and dog snacks to their four-legged friends. Tenants can also work on laptops with free Wi-Fi while enjoying music piped through the facility, Mr. Jack Guttman, a managing partner at Broadway said.
The building, which was a parking garage in the 1920s, includes indoor loading area and has two truck-size elevators that tenants can use to move things directly from vehicle to storage. Gotham offers free pickups, not in a minivan like other companies, but a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus. These flourishes added 20 percent to the development cost of $15 million, Mr. Guttman said.
Prices range from $39 a month for a 64-cubic-foot locker reached by a stepladder, to $2,000 for a garage-size space. In contrast, a similar 64-cubic-foot space at Manhattan Mini Storage this week was $57 a month, with a year lease, at most locations. Prices started at $70 a month, for a slightly larger space, at Tuck-It-Away, which is based in Upper Manhattan.
“We know we’ve built a good product,” said Mr. Guttman, who said he has been buying and selling self-storage facilities in New York for more than a decade. “It’s different, and it’s better.”
He added that the high-rise rental buildings that have sprung up around the building in recent years, and others that will come with the Hudson Yards redevelopment, should provide a steady stream of customers.
There are about 30 self-storage facilities in Manhattan, according to the New York Self Storage Association, a trade group, which counts those facilities where tenants can get items as they please, without having to call first.
Yet as a start-up company, Gotham can seem to be a David opposing an army of Goliaths.