EFFICIENT, flexible space. It’s a simple idea but, for many businesses, the modern office still fails to provide the necessary storage capacity.Spare space is a rare and valuable commodity, at least that’s what property developer Alan Wilkie is banking on.And considering the increasing number of people opting to move out of the suburbs into inner city apartments, the demand for space has never been stronger.Mr Wilkie is the owner/operator of Self Owned Storage in the Myaree Business Centre. The development is comprised of 51 units ranging in size from five square metres to 13sqm.Mr Wilkie claims what sets these storage units apart is that businesses can buy a unit or a number of units either for their own use or to lease out to tenants.“Historically the site was designed as a mixed business park. We, at Triview Holdings, purchased a 4000sqm site in the centre of the development,” Mr Wilkie said.“Originally I planned a large office block but the research showed it wouldn’t work, so we went back to the drawing board and made up a smaller, two-storey office development.”The second concept left Mr Wilkie with an area of vacant land on the site. The self-owned storage units have been developed on this parcel of land.“The suggestion was that there was demand for smaller units, especially if they could be purchased, not rented,” Mr Wilkie said.The units can be used for any number of requirements, from storing critical statutory records to household overflow.“They’re particularly useful for people who are selling and moving away but who don’t want to sell everything in the house,” Mr Wilkie said.“But probably the most enquiries came from the accountants and people who wind up businesses, administrators or insolvency accountants who have to get hold of books and boxes of records.”This apparently simple idea proved quite a challenge for the local council in terms of the land titles.“The biggest hassle came up with the City of Melville,” Mr Wilkie said. “They rated them at the bottom level of smaller blocks of land, measuring about 400sqm.“For that you are talking about a couple of hundred dollars a year in rates.”However, the council has undertaken to conduct a full review of the situation prior to the 2002/2003 financial year.“The Water Corporation were very sympathetic and came back with a rating, which we considered to be very fair,” Mr Wilkie said.He said there also was the opportunity to negatively gear when buying a storage unit.“I don’t think there is any property in Perth you can buy under about $100,000, but for $15,000 for one of these units you can put a deposit down and advertise the unit to let and the shortfall and cost of the unit become a concession to your overall tax considerations,” Mr Wilkie said.The units range from $15,000 up to $34,200 for the 13sqm unit.Eight of the units have already sold and a further three are rented, which means investors can buy into the units with tenants already in place.“They’ve been available since August last year but we haven’t actually been marketing them we’re only going to the market with them now,” he said.
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