CBRE’s John Fisher Supports Expansion of Mini Mall Storage Properties Trust as Independent Trustee
October 17, 2023 3 Minute Read
CBRE’s John Fisher has joined the board of Mini Mall Storage Properties Trust (MMSP) as an independent trustee. MMSP is a rapidly growing organization that in only three years has amassed a seven million square foot portfolio comprising 200-plus facilities and over $1.3 billion in assets under management across North America.
Fisher first came to MMSP’s attention through his work teaching real estate finance in the MBA program at the Haskayne School of Business at University of Calgary. In addition, he helped MMSP relocate its head office to a new 85,000 square foot space, one of several deals he’s worked on with the Trust.
Through his deal interactions with Adam Villard, MMSP’s CEO, and Jason Jogia, Avenue Living’s CIO, Fisher was invited to deliver a short course on the intricacies of real estate investing to one of MMSP’s largest investor groups.
“During that session, I demonstrated my practical expertise, depth of knowledge and proven experience in the real estate financial frameworks,” recalls Fisher. “So, when MMSP decided to form a new board of trustees earlier this year, Adam reached out to me and asked if I would be interested to join.”
Fisher has built a specialized practice that spans every Canadian province and U.S. state. “I have a unique ability to think and operate strategically across multiple regions and geographies.”
“The first thing they recommend in ‘broker school’ is to specialize in something,” he adds. “My specialty is doing multiregional work for clients looking to grow and manage portfolios across geographies.”
MMSP is in the midst of doing exactly that, and Fisher’s insights on portfolio strategy and finance expertise will help the leadership team validate their strategy, evaluate prospective acquisitions, and continue driving value for their shareholders.
“My role is to support their team with ideas and connections, while providing them with guidance and stewardship to build the portfolio,” says Fisher, who was nominated chair of MMSP’s investment committee.
A MMSP self storage site in Arkansas.
Immense growth mode
MMSP has expanded tremendously since launching in 2020 and the group is planning to grow even more aggressively in the next few years, looking to the U.S for the bulk of its storage property acquisition prospects.
“They have an exciting trajectory ahead,” says Fisher. “They started off with one facility in 2020 and today they have over 200 facilities and $1.3 billion in assets under management, and they are acutely focused on exponential growth in the coming years.”
Current economic and housing market pressures are creating unprecedented opportunity for self-storage businesses.
Amid rising interest rates and housing supply challenges, city dwellers are getting less house for their buck, moving into smaller apartments, and having to put their overflow “stuff” in storage.
“It’s the way the world is evolving,” Fisher says. “People don’t have enough space to store their belongings in their homes anymore, but we can support them with all of their life transitions and there’s a bright future in self-storage.”
MMSP’s strategy involves acquiring legacy-run storage assets and implementing institutional-grade operational strategies and technologies to enhance the profitability of those properties.
Improvements include 24/7 access, SEO-enabled websites, mobile rentals, state-of-the-art security, and dynamic pricing. Enhancements such as these elevate the service standard in a storage industry that has traditionally been cash and paper.
And given the abundance of storage sites across the U.S. and Canada that need modernizing, MMSP will have no shortage of opportunities to consider, with Fisher alongside supporting them.
“From a historically sleepy, niche asset class to a sought-after focused property type now in the limelight,” he says, “this is the moment for self-storage to shine.”
At a time of concern over the future of office and downtown cores, Joey Restaurant Group, one of North America’s top restaurant chains, is demonstrating its firm belief in Toronto.
It’s all hands on deck in Canada’s hospitality sector. For the first time since 2019 the hotel industry is operating at full capacity, without restrictions.
Stay In The Know
Subscribe today and join hundreds of professionals who get the latest blogs delivered straight to their inbox.