This week, our Year in Review series resumes as we continue to explore the variety of our construction projects across the Portland Metro Area. From storage facilities to auto dealerships, we demonstrate our ability to deliver successful results across multiple market sectors.


StorQuest Self Storage

This recently completed project features a 4-story, ground-up, self-storage facility in Happy Valley, Oregon. The project included a daylight basement, metal truss roofing, and a covered loading dock. The unique design included varying pitched roofs at different elevations and cultured stone on the corners of the building. Additionally, the project was built on a hillside next to Rock Creek, which required our teams to excavate and export substantial amounts of dirt from the site. 

Due to rising costs, the project team sourced all materials during preconstruction to guarantee the project stayed on budget. According to Project Superintendent, Joe Kane, one of the greatest challenges of the project was the size of the building site. Because the site was so small, the material had to be stored offsite and trucked in ’just-in-time’ for installation. In addition, getting the concrete trucks and pump truck on site for pours was difficult, there was just enough room to back a single truck in. The others had to wait down to street to avoid blocking traffic on busy Sunnyside Road.

Perlo’s crews self-performed a variety of elements, including:

  • Structural concrete footings
  • Cast-in-place walls for the basement

Despite the tight job site and constant erosion control monitoring of Rock Creek on the west side of the building, the team completed an impressive concrete pour of a 4th floor deck and were successful in delivering the project on time.

Perlo Team

Jeremy Maynard | Project Director

Erich Schmidt | Senior Project Manager

Joe Kane | Superintendent

Gary Cox | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Mars Gracida | Field Safety Coordinator

Herzog-Meier Mazda

This project consisted of the new, ground-up construction of a two-story Mazda showroom, the remodel of an existing service and parts sales building, and the addition of a new, ground-up service, detailing, and photo booth building.

From the preconstruction phase, special considerations and planning needed to be made to accommodate existing conditions and ongoing showroom operations, including:

  • Large, underground water retention storage facility
  • Site logistics
  • Customer safety

Like so many projects completed within the last couple of years, supply chain disruptions presented an enormous obstacle for the team, but they were able to draw from recent experiences to enact strategies to keep the schedule on track.

The Perlo work crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete work
  • Roof structure installation

Superintendent Jay Edgar reflected on what meant the most for him about this project, “This new dealership sits along the highway with four others that I have previously built. Each one was different in its own design. I am very proud of all these buildings”. The opportunity to perform multiple times for the same clients and those nearby are a true testament to the success that Perlo has achieved in the construction of Auto Dealerships.

Perlo Team

Jake Jensen | Senior Project Manager

Joe Sprando | Project Manager

Jay Edgar | Superintendent

Dave Castillo | Foreman

Regan Cloudy | Project Engineer

Crystal Bentley | Lead APM

Jadyn Bentley | Admin Assistant

True Terpenes

Located in Hillsboro, Oregon, this project consisted of a 22,000 SF tenant improvement in an existing office and warehouse space for a CBD production tenant. The scope of the project included constructing a second-level mezzanine, new office spaces, conference rooms, and a manufacturing space with clean rooms and warehouse storage.

To prepare for the project, special considerations needed to be made in the design to consider existing conditions, such as mechanical units, office spaces, and a stained concrete floor. The mezzanine was constructed above an existing office space which, according to Project Manager Adam Smelley, posed some challenges.  

Perlo’s team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Concrete pour back
  • Doors, frames, and hardware installation
  • Restroom accessories installation
  • Miscellaneous accessories installation

Superintendent, Kyncade Hardy, explained that delays in sourcing the structural steel for the mezzanine as well as the custom-colored cloud ceilings requested for the open office area were both large hurdles to overcome. The team made sure to be honest and transparent in their communication with ownership about progress of the project to ensure that the completion of the project was on time, as well as finding creative solutions to work around these challenges. True Terpenes had a tight schedule to bring in their equipment, so finishing on time was critical.

The Perlo Podcast featured an onsite episode all about True Terpenes. View it now in our Newsroom.

Perlo Team

Adam Smelley | Project Manager

Kyncade Hardy | Superintendent

Nathan Wright | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Mike Souder | Field Safety Coordinator

Dragonberry Produce Expansion

This new 29,700 SF tilt-up concrete distribution center is located in Canby, Oregon and is the second facility Perlo has built for Dragonberry Produce. The building included a 6,100 SF cooler and a 2,500 SF freezer with high-speed doors, a natural gas generator, and two high-end office areas with a future separate tenant build-out area for nut processing. The site includes a loading dock, passenger car parking, two swales and drywells for storm water management, a truck scale, and two drive aisles for access.

There were two driving factors in the design of this project: flexibility and sustainability. As the Northwest’s premier specialty produce distributor, it was important to the client that their freezer have a dual function as both a freezer and cooler. To accommodate this, adjustments were made in the design, including a glycol system installed under the slab-on-grade to protect the concrete from freezing. Additionally, although natural gas generators are not common, this system was selected because it is more sustainable than diesel generators.

Perlo’s SPG team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete
  • Depressed freezer slabs
  • Truck scale foundation
  • Interior mezzanine wood structure
  • Exterior wood accent wall
  • Interior stairs
  • Miscellaneous installations

The project team encountered multiple situations that required quick thinking and flexible maneuvering, including:

  • The late addition of a truck scale.  
  • Jurisdictional requirements to change the site utility design

Both of these examples required coordinated efforts to provide the most timely and economical solutions for our client. Senior Project Manager, Jacob Leighter, recalls that “we had several onsite meetings with the city, Owner, Design Team, and Excavation Subcontractor to resolve the site utility problem quickly to keep the project moving.”

In the end, the project was successfully delivered by the project team.

Perlo Team

Jacob Leighter | Senior Project Manager

Steve Dusenberry | Superintendent

Philip Overbye | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Jadyn Bentley | Admin Assistant

Final Thoughts

Perlo embraces the opportunity to prove our ability to adapt to and persevere over any challenges or adversity that might arise in the course of our projects. Our Perlo Practice #2, “Solutions show up as problems” is the core of our approach to any project. We pride ourselves on the creative and innovative thinking our team brings to the table that ultimately drives our success. We look forward to continued growth across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

One of real estate’s perhaps least talked about real estate sectors but nevertheless an important one is the self-storage market.  Nearly 9% of all Americans currently lease a storage unit – nearly half of which involve life transitions such as moving, downsizing, divorcing or other reasons. Perlo has been involved in the self-storage market for many years now, and the construction of these buildings are, indeed, unique. Today we will explore more about self-storage construction and why these facilities aren’t your everyday build.


Where Self-Storage Projects are Located

Self-storage buildings most often follow density of population, which means they’re regularly placed in urban or suburban infill sites. Self-storage renters prefer their units to be near their place of residence, so operators of storage facilities aim to be within a 3 – 5 mile radius of high density areas, and some closer than that. 

The timeline between land purchase and development can be quite long, as developers often need to work with the local jurisdictions to modify the zoning in order to place their buildings in desired locations. That said, developers work hard to create exterior facades that follow the design requirements of the area while still maintaining their brand identities. 

For example, the City of Portland will not approve exterior facades if there are ‘waves’ in the sheet metal, so any metal panels must be made with very thick steel to avoid this occurring. The City of Happy Valley wants new construction to look similar to the neighboring retail buildings, so the self-storage facilities in that area have more traditional roof lines, stone, corbels, and timber than is typical.

Another challenge of the location of these infill properties is that the sites are very tight. The buildings often encompass almost the entire site, and the soils may be less than ideal due to bad soils, contamination or other factors. This makes the logistics of completing the work one of the hardest parts of the buildings process. Urban construction sites are challenging for a variety of reasons, so the use of an experienced general contractor for completing these buildings is a must. 

In more recent years, some developers are constructing these types of buildings in areas where new residential buildings are planned to land in the near future, hoping to take advantage of better building sites with the anticipation of users following soon after.  

Typical Building Components in Self-Storage

Steel structures with metal framing and finishes are the most common elements of self-storage facilities, with concrete foundations and floors, and TPO roofs.  As mentioned previously, they have to match local codes, so masonry, wood or other facades may be included to meet those requirements. The use of steel and other metals is critical for these buildings because it is non-combustible.  With the unpredictability of what individuals may store inside these units, it’s necessary to reduce hazardous materials.

Structurally, multi-story self-storage buildings are relatively complex. After all, each floor is designed to hold 120 pounds per square foot (psf).  In contrast, an average parking garage is rated for 55 psf, making self-storage buildings able to withstand nearly 3 times as much weight as is designed for vehicle parking. The added structural requirements mean that the steel structure must be extremely robust, and the foundations amplified beyond normal construction.

The combination of high weight bearing requirements as well as infill sights that may not have the best ground means that complex foundation systems like driven piles, aggregate piers or helical piers, as well as deep foundations and large footings are involved. 

In addition, many of these structures include basements or daylight basements and may require underpinning the adjacent lot-line buildings, providing significant shoring or the use of cell-crete to provide support for the existing and new structures.

Types of Self-Storage Projects

There are a variety of project types in the self-storage market.  Of late, there have been numerous ground-up projects, but they can also be remodels, conversions from previous uses or expansions of existing facilities. Regardless of the type of project, they tend to involve similar finishes and upgrades to the structures to achieve the load ratings that self-storage buildings require. These often involve a refresh of the finishes to make them more attractive to potential customers.   

Construction Sequencing and Logistics

We have established that self-storage buildings are complex in terms of building sites and structures. These factors contribute to a need to run the sites efficiently and effectively in terms of materials deliveries and site logistics. Some of the factors that must be considered include:

  • Proximity to neighboring structures
  • Traffic control and/or congestion
  • Street or sidewalk closures
  • Location of utility tie-ins and their effect on neighbors and streets
  • Delivery staging and loading onto site
  • Crew parking
  • Crane location(s)
  • Sequencing of work for man-loading

The self-storage market is also largely dependent on the specialty subcontractors that complete the metal framing, walls and doors that are standard for this building type.  There are only a few subcontractors that perform this work, and once they engage on a project, they want to complete their work without interruption. The project management and superintendent teams must think critically about the scheduling of work crews and ensure these specialty subcontractors can move quickly and efficiently through their work.

Self-Perform Construction Items

Perlo self-performs several scopes on these building types, including the following:

  • Concrete scopes, including footings and slabs
  • Installation of anchorage systems
  • Epoxy
  • Hollow metal doors, frames and hardware
  • Miscellaneous installations
  • Cleaning & temporary protection

In addition to these items, Perlo provides all site supervision and enforces safety protocols. Our ability to perform all structural concrete helps us to better control the schedule and quality of our final product.

The Future of Self-Storage

The future of the self-storage market appears optimistic.  According to Mordor Intelligence, the market is projected to continue with positive growth through 2026. As households downsize and the population increases, the need for these spaces is only growing. In addition, investors have been moving funds into this market at increasing rates. According to Forbes, even investors like Bill Gates have invested in self-storage. It’s been said that this market is recession proof and provides great returns.

We project that this is a market that will continue to grow along the West Coast and have several projects in the pipeline for completion over the next couple of years.

Final Thoughts

Self-storage work is a unique building type that requires extensive expertise to complete correctly.  Our teams are well versed in self-storage construction of all kinds and are available to discuss any building opportunities you may have.

If you’d like to get in touch with our teams, please give us a call at 503.624.2090 or fill out an inquiry form on our contact us page.