Sports car in RoboVault storage

24 Mar High-End Storage Unlocks Unique Experiences

By Alex Hassel,

Imagine a storage facility where a robotic mechanism will retrieve a renter’s belongings upon request and place them in a room, ready to go. Or picture a storage facility that allows someone to store several cars, but also furnish a loft in the same space where their family and friends can meet for dinner. These are just a few examples of what high-end storage options look like.

Companies like RoboVault in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Iron Gate Motor Condos in Naperville, Ill., offer the security, convenience, and luxurious atmosphere wealthy customers are willing to pay for.

Since 2009, RoboVault has offered its clients high levels of security and “museum-quality services.” It’s a one-of-a-kind facility that’s rated for Category 5 hurricanes and can withstand wind gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. However, renters’ belongings aren’t just safe from weather, but also nearly any threat of theft.

What makes RoboVault unique is its automated storage system. When a renter wants to access their belongings, they show credentials, then RoboVault’s robotic structure finds their individual vault or vehicle within seven stories of space. The system then delivers the belongings to them in a private and secure room.

After further authentication, a renter can access their property while staff members are available for assistance at the push of a button. When the customer is finished, the robotic system places the vault back into its storage space. It costs $525 a month to store a car, which includes complimentary services like battery and tire pressure checks. The cost for storing other items depends on their size.

“The automatic retrieval system is quite unique and intriguing to clients, but also offers an additional level of security in that there is no human access to the space,” says Jessica Ransom, Business Development Manager of Fine Art Services at RoboVault.

To access the facility’s wine vaults, a renter has to swipe a keycard and scan their fingerprint at the door. Even inside, they still need a key to unlock their unit.

RoboVault offers unique amenities as well. In addition to the wine vaults’ climate-controlled environment and backup generator, the business also offers off-site packing and refrigerated transport, on-site handling, inventory management, and accepts deliveries. RoboVault also has a wine tasting lounge for private gatherings.

For those using the building for art storage, the facility offers customized packing, sculpture rigging and relocation, professional art installation, and even 5,000 square feet of private viewing and meeting spaces. RoboVault’s security has even earned accreditation by several art insurance companies.

The facility has been very popular with the art crowd. “South Florida is home to many high net worth and international residents and supports a vibrant art community, including Art Basel and the Miami Art Fairs, the second largest art fair in the world,” says Ransom.

In Naperville, however, the big drive for high-end storage is car collections, which Iron Gate Motor Condos specializes in. Clients can store their cars at the facility and furnish a unit however they like. Many install living spaces and other rec room items like a pool table.

Tom Burgess, CEO of Burgess Commercial Real Estate, opened Iron Gate Motor Condos with a dream. “My passion for automobiles began when I was a kid. I was housing my collection of sport and classic cars at my office space and found that I did not have anyone around me with whom I could share my passion. I realized that if I felt this way, there must be other auto enthusiasts just like me.”

Burgess brought like-minded people together with Iron Gate Motor Condos. What’s different about these kinds of storage spaces, though, is customers don’t rent them. They buy them like condos. Sizes can range from a 20×40 unit (i.e., 800 square feet) to a 40×40 (i.e., 1,600 square feet). The price for a base unit typically starts at $129,000. Currently, Iron Gate has 59 units in four buildings on the property.

But if someone is going to pay for this kind of space, why don’t they just build on their own property or add on to their house? Burgess explains, “When adding on to a house, you limit your market appeal for would be homeowners, and most homes in our area do not allow for this type of addition under zoning requirements.”

While owners aren’t at home, many work to make their units feel like it. Since they own the space, they get to customize it however they want. “Owners purchase their space, and just like any other private residence, they can design the unit to their specifications. For instance, one owner has a half-court basketball court while another has a music practice space with recording capability,” says Burgess.

A city ordinance allows for overnight stays at Iron Gate Motor Condos; however, no permanent residence is permitted. Burgess continues, “Each unit has a mezzanine that serves as an urban cabin space for private dining, entertaining, and one unit features a pool table with adjacent wine cellar and large outdoor deck overlooking a 22-acre nature preserve. Furthermore, in just a short time, a sense of community has evolved at Iron Gate Motor Condos, where commonality is shared and friendships have grown.”

Burgess says that community is the biggest selling point. Iron Gate frequently hosts car shows and other events. “The idea of sharing knowledge, common interest, and passion for automobiles is a major attraction for car enthusiasts who come to Iron Gate Motor Condos,” says Burgess. “We hear from owners and prospective owners that they had cars in various locations, had to ‘jockey’ the various parking spaces, and would travel great distances to get to their garage space to go for a drive. Car people are already a great group. There’s no pretense here. There’s always interest by owners in anything with a steering wheel!”

80% of Iron Gate’s spaces have been taken, and more development is on the way. “Construction will begin this spring on additional car condo buildings, as well as the Iron Gate Motor Plaza, a 15-acre retail development that will encompass more than 58,000 square feet of commercial space. There will be approximately 160 garages at Iron Gate Motor Condos upon completion,” Burgess says.

Although high-end storage caters to specific kinds of crowds, developers have found the demand is definitely there.

Photo courtesy of RoboVault.

Alex Hassel is News Reporter for If you’d like to pitch Alex a self storage industry news story, email [email protected] or call 402-779-7328.

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