The Carlyle Group, Safestore Enter Belgian Self Storage Market

The joint venture, formed less than 12 months ago, bought Lokabox and its portfolio of six facilities across Belgium.
Lokabox property in Alleur, Liege, Belgium. Image courtesy of The Carlyle Group

A joint venture of Safestore and The Carlyle Group has acquired the six-store portfolio of Belgian self storage provider Lokabox. The properties are situated in prime locations in Brussels (two), Liege (two), Charleroi and Nivelles and total about 20,600 square meters (about 222,000 square feet) of rentable space. Financials on the deal were not disclosed.

READ ALSO: What’s Causing Distress in Self Storage?

The Carlyle Group has an 80 percent stake in the joint venture through Carlyle Europe Realty, a €540 million ($605 million) pan-European real estate fund. Safestore will hold the balance. Safestore is the U.K.’s largest self storage provider, with 126 locations there, as well as 28 in Paris and four in Barcelona.

A Carlyle spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive that it has not yet been decided whether the six Belgian properties will operate under the Lokabox name or rebrand to Safestore.

The Belgian self storage market is Europe’s seventh largest, with 90 stores and 2.2 million square feet of rentable space, according to the joint venture. The partners have stated that they intend to continue to expand their platform by investing in further self storage development and acquisition opportunities across Europe.

Growing interest 

The joint venture was established in August 2019 and that month purchased M3 Self Storage in the Netherlands. M3’s six locations total about 277,000 square feet of rentable space. The ownership shares on that deal were the same as with this second acquisition.

The European self storage market totaled about 4,300 facilities adding up to more than 9.9 million square meters (106.6 million square feet) of space, according to a 2019 annual survey by the Federation of European Self Storage Associations. Interest in the self storage sector has been growing and is characterized by an increasingly varied set of investors, said Ollie Saunders of JLL, which assisted with the survey.

Last December, LG Electronics USA agreed to lease the entire 925,000-square-foot industrial building in Franklin, N.J., once it was completed in the first quarter of this year. The building was being developed by Crow Holdings Industrial, in conjunction with The Carlyle Group.