Storage Facility Firm Planning $1B IPO

Strategic Storage Trust Inc. is looking to make a big entrée into the public storage real estate business now that it has registered a $1 billion initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.The SEC deemed Strategic Storage’s registration filing effective earlier this week, after a relatively short four and a half month period, according to Powell Goldstein L.L.P., the law firm that assisted the company in the filing. Incorporated last August with plans to qualify as a REIT beginning with the taxable year ending Dec. 31, 2008, Strategic Storage is offering up to 1 million shares of common stock at $10 per share. Funds from the IPO will be utilized to build up the company’s portfolio through investments in self-storage facilities and related self-storage real estate endeavors. Shares will be offered until March 17, 2010.Despite suffering a slight decline in strength due to the weakening economy, the public storage sector is expected to grow stronger in the not-too-distant future, according to a 2008 report by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. Anticipated improvements will be spurred by such factors as residential downsizing among baby boomers, as well as the online auctioning world in which sellers often find a need for self-storage accommodations. As of the close of 2007, the self storage market encompassed approximately 2.2 billion square feet of space, as per the Self Storage Association. The trade organization also notes that, for the last three decades, self-storage has been the U.S. commercial real estate industry’s fastest-growing sector. Strategic Storage, which currently owns no properties, plans to target markets across the United States, and potentially beyond domestic borders