Sunday, October 11, 2020

[ALERT] Hundreds of Trees Taken Down For EXCITING New Briarcliff Development

After receiving inquiries from readers and witnessing ourselves the clearcutting of a large lot (2661 Briarcliff Road) behind the North Druid Hills Target store, we made it a point to investigate what was happening.  We are (dis)pleased to be able to share that the neighborhood has lost hundreds of mature trees for the development of yet another self-storage facility!  

Planning documents filed with DeKalb County indicate that Extra Space Storage is building a roughly 135,000 square foot multi-level climate-controlled self-storage facility on the heavily wooded lot.  DeKalb County property records indicate that, like the adjacent Briarcliff Station shopping center and several adjacent parcels, Scarlett & Associates is the owner of the 3.63 acre parcel.  Confusingly, despite the fact that the parcel was vacant ahead of the recent clearcutting, the permit (#3053192) posted at the site indicates it's for "Alteration to existing structure."

ToNeTo Atlanta reported this past December that Related Group, a Miami-based residential developer, is proposing a roughly seven acre mixed-use development in place of Briarcliff Station, Tin Roof Cantina and other adjacent parcels.  The property, also owned by Scarlett & Associates, was targeted by Related for both annexation into the City of Brookhaven and rezoning by the city.  DeKalb County was not pleased with the request or the reported goal of receiving tax breaks from the city to complete the project, but has thus far been unable to prevent the process from moving forward.  The Brookhaven city Planning Commission recommended approval of the annexation and rezoning request on October 7 with some conditions regarding improving the streetscape around the development.  The City Council is set to vote on it October 27.  

A total of 27 acres of commercial property in the area sought annexation into the City of Brookhaven, but the Extra Space property, although contiguous with others involved, was not included in the annexation request.  

Salt Lake City-based Extra Space Storage already operates thousands of of storage units across its nearly 100 facilities in Georgia.   According to its website, "the Company's properties comprise approximately 1,010,000 units and over 585M square feet of rentable storage space."  

Among the existing Extra Space locations in the vicinity are those on Zonolite Road near Sage Hill, Lindbergh Drive (on the former site of the original Varsity Jr.), on Cheshire Bridge Road (in the converted Ellman's/Service Merchandise), at Decatur Crossing across from Suburban Plaza near Decatur, and along DeKalb Industrial Way not far from the its intersection with North Decatur Road.  

Extra Space (NYSE: EXR), a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), was added to the S&P 500 in 2016 and currently trades at about $113 per share with a market capitalization of just over $14.6 billion.  The company, which owns and/or operates over 1,850 self-storage properties in 43 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico,  is currently the second largest storage unit operator in the United States.  Public Storage, the nation's leader, owns/or operates more than 2,500 self-storage properties.  

Consumer use of self storage facilities is said to be driven by the "Four D's:" dislocation (i.e., moving house), downsizing, divorce, or death.  Real estate sources and even those involved in the development of storage facilities have told ToNeTo Atlanta in recent months that demand is "softening" in metro Atlanta and that fewer new projects will be built in the near term.  This article from April indicates that the entire industry is experiencing increased unused space and decreases in monthly rental rates.   

With luck, this new facility will be one of the last new locations to open by any company for a long time.  

What are your thoughts on the use of this land for a self-storage facility?  Do you currently rent a storage unit?  Do you think Brookhaven should annex the 27 acres into the city?

Please share your thoughts below. 


  1. It's disappointing that such a high profile/visibility space is being used for a storage unit. One would think that storage units could invest in cheaper real estate and hidden from a main corridor and still obtain the same business. It's not exactly an impulse purchase.

  2. Boo. Just BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
    With the market for storage rentals declining, it's really too bad that this company has clear-cut this property and is proceeding with building a multi-level storage facility. I hope they will plan for ingress and egress lanes for U-Hauls and the like to access the lot since the road is two lanes in that area and also on or near a curve.

  3. This must have slid under the radar with the Brookhaven annexation fight and huge development going on right next door. That’s a terrible and unnecessary use of that property when there are dozens of these storage facilities within a small radius.

  4. So a little clarity on how the self storage business operates. In this case (and many, many others), Extra Space is simply the manager of the facility. They are not the developer, nor the owner. A self storage developer uses Extra Space's enormous online platform and brand recognition instead of managing the facility themselves and pays ES a fee on every unit rented. Your frustration should lie with the developer who is coming into an already oversupplied market, not Extra Space.

  5. Ridiculous! Humans will destroy it all, won’t we?

  6. These comments could go for any number of newer storage facilities in the area. They always seem to be built on high profile/visible land and seem wholly unnecessary. Storage facilities are a scourge. But they also speak to an American problem of way too much "stuff".

  7. What's the point in asking for comments NOW! It is a done deal. Horrible! For something as stupid as a storage facility--as if there aren't plenty of those around. What does it say about us that we have so MUCH stuff that we must store it in metal boxes--not our homes. It sickens me that we have so little regard for Nature and its value to the viability of the Earth and our own species.

  8. As a former owner of one of the townhomes pictured here, I'm so grateful I'm out, but so sad to see the destruction for something as worthless as self-storage. I loved looking at all those trees out my front windows every day.

    1. I was just thinking weren’t these townhomes that were just built about 10-12 years ago? I lived in those crappy apartments that were there when I first moved to Atlanta...

  9. You missed the two permits issued in March. This permit is an alteration to the 4-Story (2 above ground, a basement and sub-basement) building in those earlier permits.
    DeKalb commissioners were blindsided by this. DeKalb code allows these warehouses by right on any property zoned C-1. Just pull permits, no notice to the public. Juicy deets: Tuggle heirs were ordered to sell the property by a court after years of infighting. Now DeKalb Planning is refusing to divulge the site plan without an ORR and property tax info has been scrubbed from the web.

  10. It's only a matter of time before we'll all be living in mini-storage.

  11. You're not going to like this AJC article either:

  12. The city of Brookhaven has truly been awful. All that land that could have housed a new townhome division is used for MORE STORAGE. We already have enough damn storage in the area. They need to ban these businesses.

  13. That is a real shame - losing beautiful, mature trees - losing nature to another stupid storage facility. People store stuff and leave it there for years and don't even know what they have in there - crazy.

  14. I'm reading a lot of comments that "self-storage is over-built." Not sure where you all are getting your figures from. It's a simple supply and demand calculation. Not only would a bank not lend on and investors not invest in, but a developer would not roll the dice on a new development if they hadn't done their market research / homework and felt good about their ability to build, lease-up and cash flow a new business.