When real estate firm Altis Cardinal brought CubeSmart Self Storage to St. Petersburg, Florida, it recognized the potential in the city. Since the developers were bringing it to an urban area, they recognized they needed to design a building of high-level
aesthetics and performance. Metal panel systems from Kingspan helped those goals be realized.
"St. Petersburg didn’t see new self-storage development in a long time," Frank Guerra, founding principal of Altis Cardinal, told the Tampa Bay Times. "It’s a very underserved market relative to the increased population."
The number of self-storage facilities are on the rise. According to Mordor Intelligence, the self-storage market is expected to be one of the hottest sectors in commercial real estate, with expected annual growth of 7.5% from 2018-2023. These facilities
may not fit the mold of traditional self-storage: concrete buildings with endless rows of orange metal roll-up doors.
CubeSmart Self Storage is a $20 million building on the site of a former low-income motel. The building features retail on the first floor, with three floors of self-storage above. Access to storage units is through interior corridors, so there are
no visuals that suggest the building houses storage units.
“They are trying to make them innocuous as possible,” said Dave Goodwin, city of St. Petersburg’s director of planning and economic development, to the Tampa Bay Times. “Most of them try to look like something other than
storage buildings now.”
The CubeSmart building includes more than 31,000 square feet of Kingspan insulated metal panels (IMPs). Two kinds of panels were used: KS Azteco and KS Micro-Rib. KS Azteco is a pre-engineered wall system that utilizes a patented double-seal integrated
joint. KS Micro-Rib panels deliver a combination of performance and aesthetics while remaining budget-friendly. Their ribbed-profile creates a unique look. Both panels can be applied vertically or horizontally.
“We’re seeing more and more insulated metal panels in self-storage,” said architect Pat Pillot, whose firm Patrick M. Pillot Architect Inc. does a lot of work with self-storage clients. “We use insulated metal panels as much
as we can and encourage clients to go with a more contemporary look that works well in today’s world. In my opinion, it’s a great product for self-storage.”
Insulated metal panels provide nearly endless options when it comes to finishes, and colors are easily replicated for franchise operations. Two colors of KS Azteco panels were used on the CubeSmart project – Driftwood and Ascot White –
and the Zinc Gray was used for the KS Micro-Rib panels.
“You’re able to eliminate conventional metal studs, insulation, drywall, and you can do the entire building envelope with one panel,” said Matt Houtman, Estimator at Performance Contracting Inc., the insulated metal panel contractor
for this CubeSmart facility. “Metal panels provide the insulation and weather barrier all in one system, versus having multiple trades and multiple pieces doing that.”