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Charlotte development on the rise amid prime economic conditions

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – More development site options as a result of eased city regulation coupled with rapid population growth and increased residential costs have propelled self storage facility development in Charlotte.  

The Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC) is the 22nd largest MSA in the U.S. with approximately 2.4 million people, according to 2016 U.S Census Bureau estimates. The total figure represented a 12% spike in population from 2010, making Charlotte one of the fastest growing MSAs in the nation. This growth can be attributed to present economic conditions as a recent report from Headlight Data ranked Charlotte fourth among top MSAs for fastest job market growth. This comes as no surprise since the Charlotte MSA headquarters eight Fortune 500 companies, such as Bank of America, and has an unemployment rate of just above 4%.   

In November 2015, the Charlotte City Council approved a rule change that allowed for new self-storage facilities to be built in more urban, residential areas, in addition to traditional industrial and warehouse districts. 

The thriving economic conditions in the MSA prompted STR to analyze its database to determine the current landscape of Charlotte’s self storage industry. 

Currently, STR is tracking 335 open and operational self storage facilities in the Charlotte MSA with 41% being chain-affiliated and 59% managed independently. Public Storage has the largest chain presence followed by Morningstar Storage and U-Haul Moving & Storage. On a county level, Mecklenburg County, N.C., represents the largest share (33%) of the 335 open and operating self storage facilities. York County, S.C., Gaston County, N.C., and Iredell County, N.C. represent 13%, 11% and 11%, respectively.


Earlier in the year, STR saw 31 self storage development projects in various phases of development in Charlotte. This total has increased to 45, which represents 45% growth in the MSA’s pipeline. The average size of a facility under development is approximately 73,000 NRSF with an average number of four buildings per facility. The largest development project in the MSA is a facility with an estimated 100,000 NRSF.

Most pipeline developments are located in Mecklenburg County, which grew by approximately 135,000 residents from 2010 to 2016. Further analysis indicates that most pipeline developments are in areas with an existing self storage footprint. The majority (87%) of the total development projects in the MSA are in zip codes with at least one existing self storage facility.  

STR expects more than one-third (17 projects) of the development projects to be completed in the upcoming year. Assuming all 45 self storage projects were completed, STR estimates a total of 3.3 million NRSF entering the Charlotte MSA. 

Individuals and organizations interested in purchasing a listing of these facilities under development or existing facilities in markets across the country should contact STR at

About the authors

Anne Hawkins leads new business initiatives in the Sector Analysis division of STR. She is responsible for managing and implementing all aspects of sales and operations across this division. Previously, Anne worked in private equity and investment banking.  Anne can be reached at or +1 (615) 824 8664 x.3341. 

Kwabena (Kobe) Akuffo Owoo is a Research Analyst at STR.  He can be reached at or +1 (615) 824 8664 x.3009.