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 percent 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.

Instead, self-storage facilities are becoming contemporary. CubeSmart Self Storage in St. Petersburg, Florida, exemplifies this trend with its design and aesthetic. Real estate firm Altis Cardinal, along with others across the nation, are re-imagining what self-storage can look like.

“They are trying to make them innocuous as possible,” said Dave Goodwin, director of planning and economic development told the Tampa Bay Times. “Most of them try to look like something other than storage buildings now.”

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’re using a smaller footprint and building them up higher, so there may be three, four, or five levels with big freight elevators for people to move their stuff in, and storefronts on the ground level,” said Matt Houtman, Estimator, Performance Contracting Inc., the insulated metal panel contractor for this CubeSmart facility.

Kingspan insulated metal panels were chosen for this building to contribute to the performance and aesthetics of the building. Two types of panels were used, KS Azteco and KS Micro-Rib – totaling more than 31,000 square feet throughout the building.

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.”

Other benefits of using insulated metal panels include fewer trades during construction and a faster speed of build. Three total different colors of panels were used to color the CubeSmart Self Storage facility – Driftwood and Ascot White for KS Azteco panels and Zinc Gray for 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 Houtman. “Metal panels provide the insulation and weather barrier all in one system, versus having multiple trades and multiple pieces doing that.”