Toeniskoetter Makes Its Mark in Next-Generation Self Storage
Toeniskoetter, Inc., the development and construction powerhouse behind some of the most beautiful buildings in San Jose, renowned for its expert restoration of iconic structures like the San Jose Court House and the San Jose Basilica, is now ready to showcase its latest achievement in … self-storage?
It’s true. Despite a portfolio encompassing nearly four decades of work that includes sleek office space, specialty labs, high-tech manufacturing facilities, and much more, in addition to award-winning restoration work, talk to Chuck Toeniskoetter, the company’s founder and chairman of the board, and he’ll wax lyrical about self-storage. In turbulent economic times, for example, self-storage can be a safe harbor, generating revenue and value when other sectors are negatively impacted. Self-storage is also a way to cleverly utilize building sites that might present too many challenges for other commercial uses. In fact, Toeniskoetter already operates two very successful self-storage properties, Little Orchard in San Jose and Cochrane Road in Morgan Hill.
But last fall, Toeniskoetter unveiled the jewel of its self-storage domain, Silver Creek Self Storage. Nestled in a prime location low in the hills of South San Jose, the state-of-the-art complex features two multi-story buildings with 107,000 square feet of net leasable space, 1,086 climate-controlled units, 32 drive-up units, and three elevators.
Silver Creek was designed with both convenience and security in mind. Clients will find censored LED lighting throughout—meaning no dark hallways—and an intercom system connects them with the office at a moment’s notice. The majority of the units are climate-controlled to ensure a steady temperature between 55 and 75 degrees. High-security cameras are strategically positioned throughout the facility, and door alarms, coded to individuals, provide real-time information on who accesses a unit and when.
The location on Silver Creek Valley Road is certainly an advantage. Set in a population center with strong income levels, the site has excellent visibility on a heavily trafficked thoroughfare with easy access to highways 85 and 101. The multi-story facility makes the most of the space available, allowing more units per acre than a typical single-story complex.
Yet it wasn’t easy. In fact, this particular industrial parcel had languished for years. It was in foreclosure when it was purchased by developer Mark Lazzarini and his partner, Ed Abelite. With over 165 feet of topographic fall, the site initially struggled to find a user that could mitigate this issue and make it pencil from a financial standpoint. Lazzarini and Abelite believed that some sort of self-storage facility would work, but that meant amending the parcel’s designation in the City of San Jose’s General Plan from Industrial Park to Light Industrial.
The team commissioned a market research study to assess the site’s potential for self-storage. The study found that, between nearby industrial users and future residents of planned apartment complexes, over 400,000 square feet of demand for self-storage existed.
Lazzarini and Abelite hired Bruce Jordan, a renowned architect whom they trusted to create a design that maximize the site’s advantages despite its geographical constraints.
The result did not disappoint. Jordan’s team took advantage of the steep topography to create a multi-story building with drive-up units on both upper and lower levels. The concept also involved submerging the lower floors into the hillside itself, thereby enabling the use of a natural climate control element. The integration of solar power would augment the complex’s energy efficiency.
Lazzarini and Abelite's hard work paid off in December of 2018 when the City approved the project—no public speakers rose to oppose it. By now, Abelite was ready to retire; Lazzarini knew just who to call.
“With Chuck, you get everything,” he recalls thinking. Toeniskoetter quickly bought out Abelite's position, and his company got to work.
While self-storage might not have the glamorous cachet of one of Toeniskoetter’s glittering office buildings or historic landmarks, one could argue that Silver Creek is, in fact, emblematic of what Toeniskoetter has brought to the Silicon Valley community for generations: a savvy, forward-looking investment; a creative and resourceful use of an underutilized property; and an unflagging commitment to the highest quality at every level.
And, oh yes: Beauty. As Chuck puts it, “Self-storage doesn’t have to be ugly.”