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Old 03-08-2012, 10:48 AM   #1
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Default The Taj Mahal of Storage Condos?

So I recently learned about "storage condos." I can't seem to find any in my area, but they are basically nicer storage units that you buy instead of rent. They typically look much nicer than a "u-store-it" type place and are larger inside. Because you own it, you can theoretically build equity and you can customize the interior of your space however you want (within code).

Here is an example builder in the northern midwest. I consider those the more "reasonable" variety.

The closest thing to me I found was in Palm Beach (hours away from me): Park Place Car Condo

And finally, for the big finale, there is a place in Minnesota called AutoMotorplex. Within there, was this guy's project condo.

Skip to page 15 for some finished pictures. That is the kind of stuff that either fills you with jealous envy or motivates you to get even halfway to that level of awesome.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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Thats pretty cool. I wonder if there is any around me, going to have look in to it.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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I have seen these popping up in the past 10 years or so. They make a lot of sense for people who don't have the space to build a large building on their lot or want to keep it separate so they don't have to rebuild when they move houses.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:59 AM   #4
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Huh.

My first reaction was that I can't imagine "buying" a building that's located on someone else's property. This thought led to further troubling thoughts concerning the nature of property taxes and whether I could really ever say I own my home no matter whose name is on the deed.

Oh, and I just noticed we're talking like $100k for these things.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:04 AM   #5
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Incredijelly.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Yeah after looking at some of the prices, it seems a little expensive. As far as property taxes and stuff, I have no idea how that works, but if its like a standard condo, then it would just be like paying property tax on a home style condo.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:45 AM   #7
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I have seen these popping up in the past 10 years or so. They make a lot of sense for people who don't have the space to build a large building on their lot or want to keep it separate so they don't have to rebuild when they move houses.
I didn't even think about the last part, but that's another advantage: build your "dream garage" once without it being tied to a particular house (as long as you stay in the general vicinity).

They are also good for people who live in more "metro" areas, high rise condos, smaller houses with smaller garages, etc. Think of a DINK couple that wants a garage big enough for a few cars but doesn't need the 5,000 square feet of living space that might normally come with a 3 or 4 car garage.

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Huh.

My first reaction was that I can't imagine "buying" a building that's located on someone else's property. This thought led to further troubling thoughts concerning the nature of property taxes and whether I could really ever say I own my home no matter whose name is on the deed.

Oh, and I just noticed we're talking like $100k for these things.
As far as I know, these are all zoned commercial only. You cannot live in them. They are just like any other condo in terms of ownership, as far as I can tell.

Prices seem to be all over the board: in that Garage Journal thread, they mention anything from $80 to $180/sq ft. And I assume that is before the buildout.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:52 PM   #8
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Good business idea.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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Skip to page 15 for some finished pictures.
I'm speechless.

I literally lack the vocabulary to sufficiently express my level of combined want and respect for that.



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My first reaction was that I can't imagine "buying" a building that's located on someone else's property.
I'm not a huge fan of the idea either, however condo ownership seems extremely common. There's not much difference between this and that.



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Good business idea.
You know, I never in a million years would have some up with an idea like that. I really do wonder how the financials will settle out for the builder.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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They have windows. No way I'm storing anything except old furniture in someplace like that.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:16 PM   #11
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FAP FAP FAP FAP FAP

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Old 03-08-2012, 01:26 PM   #12
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I'm not a huge fan of the idea either, however condo ownership seems extremely common. There's not much difference between this and that.
Yup. And I wouldn't want a condo either.

My parent's property has an easement for a shared driveway. Even that would bother me.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I'm speechless.

I literally lack the vocabulary to sufficiently express my level of combined want and respect for that.
When you have time, read through the whole thread. His attention to detail throughout the build process is pretty impressive. I love the aesthetic of the whole thing.


[Edit: Assuming you could get financing, a 30-year fixed with 4.5% and $100k is about $500/mo. Just sayin'...]
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Yup. And I wouldn't want a condo either.

My parent's property has an easement for a shared driveway. Even that would bother me.
Yeah, I know what you mean. Here in Carlsbad, we have a lot of "twin homes" or "attached homes" which, as the name implies, is basically two single-family houses which share a common wall down the middle.

It confounds me as to who came up with this idea in the first place, and why they thought it was a good one.

I'm also a bit confused by some of the locations. Palm beach makes sense, but Minn and Wis are both places where, on the whole, land is cheap.

Many years ago, when I lived in Florida, I knew a guy named Paul King. Paul was an interesting fellow; pastor of a local church, software developer and owner of Southern Software Inc., and despised thief according to community of artists who work in commercial typeface development. And he's dead now.

Anyway, Paul lived in Harbor Heights, which is kind of the lower-rent district of Charlotte county. Not a ghetto, just kinda "out in the weeds".

Here's Paul's house:



I don't know whether he owned the entire block or just half of it, but that's not really relevant. The key point is that land in this area is cheap. Zillow is putting 40,000 sqft lots in that area at $8-$10k, and 10,000 sqft lots at $2-$4k. And I expect that you can find essentially the same thing in the areas surrounding cities like Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. I'd imagine that you could probably buy the whole place for around $150k today.

The house itself looks like it's been abandoned for some time judging by the aerial and street-view photos, but it was a pretty ordinary / normal place, and in quite nice condition when I was there. 3 bed 2 bath, decent-sized kitchen, 2 car garage.

Then out back, off the west end of the pool deck, was the second garage, which had been converted into an office. It was comfortable, insulated, and well-lit. This was where the software business was run from after the unpleasantness which drove them out of Atlanta (it involved being sued by Adobe for pretty much every violation of intellectual property law imaginable. You can read about the case here. I contest Wikipedia's assertion that Paul was the "the sole employee of Southern Software, Inc," as I worked for him part-time doing kerning work from home in the '93-'94 timeframe. I honestly can't remember whether I worked on the Utopia font specifically, as we did hundreds of them, but I take solace in knowing that I contributed, in some tiny way, to one of the more bizarre federal cases on record concerning copyright and patent infringement. It's also amusing that our work is being pirated on Demonoid to this very day, as well as fetching reasonable prices in the secondhand market.)

But off the east side of the house was the third garage, the real winner. Roughly the same size as the main portion of the house, with garage doors on three sides, and nearly 2 stories tall. The interior was unfinished, but it had light, heat, 240v power, a bathroom with shower, etc. Any decent handyman could have turned it into "that guys project condo" for maybe $25k worth of drywall and finish work.

And, of course, it has the advantage of being located adjacent to your house on property which you own.


So. $100k for a "garage condo" that's located a considerable distance from where you live and work. Or Paul's house. Which we used to build and fire really impressive potato guns at.
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Old 03-08-2012, 02:46 PM   #15
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located a considerable distance from where you live
I suspect that many folks who lust after a "garage condo" seriously underestimate the inconvenience of having your projects located away from your house. If you have to commute to wrench or play with your toys, you'll find yourself doing it a lot less.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:14 PM   #16
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I suspect that many folks who lust after a "garage condo" seriously underestimate the inconvenience of having your projects located away from your house. If you have to commute to wrench or play with your toys, you'll find yourself doing it a lot less.
Exactly, I'd just live in that place! Granted I don't have a family, but still... I think something like that would be the most badass bachelor pad.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
So. $100k for a "garage condo" that's located a considerable distance from where you live and work. Or Paul's house.
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I suspect that many folks who lust after a "garage condo" seriously underestimate the inconvenience of having your projects located away from your house. If you have to commute to wrench or play with your toys, you'll find yourself doing it a lot less.
I agree 100% with the location question. For the "Garage Mahal" guy, he said it is 5 minutes from his office and (IIRC) 15 minutes from his home.

The Silicon Valley example seems to be the equivalent of a private social club, but with an automotive theme and the option of storage. We have a couple of those based in downtown Orlando (e.g. the Citrus Club).

If you can combine those other activities (social and professional), it makes a little bit of a commute more palatable.


As for just buying a big chunk of land and building a few garages on it... That works if you (A) want to live where that much land is affordable and (B) can make it work from a practicality point of view. You might prefer to drive 20 minutes to your condo garage every weekend vs an hour each way to work every day.


As with anything real estate related, it's location, location, location, price.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:58 PM   #18
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I agree 100% with the location question. For the "Garage Mahal" guy, he said it is 5 minutes from his office and (IIRC) 15 minutes from his home.
May be. Even still, I would far rather have the garage physically co-located with my home. Which is easier, getting in your car and driving 15 minutes to the garage, only to find that you forgot something and having to drive back home and then back to the garage again, or just sauntering out of the house and walking twenty paces to where your yacht / RV / racecars / machine shop are parked?


In SoCal, land is sufficiently expensive in most of the suburban areas that this isn't really practical. Lots are both very expensive and very small, and homes are very close together.

But in most areas of the midwest, southeast, etc., you could easily buy two lots side by side and put a house on one and a garage on the other. If you're smart, you'll build the garage in such a way that, when you eventually need to sell and move, it can be easily converted into a "normal" house. (Eg: frame it as though it were a mirror-image of your main house, complete with doors and windows and in-ground plumbing to accommodate bathrooms and a kitchen, and simply leave out all of the interior walls.)

This way, you can simply split the property and sell it as two houses, in the event that you can't find a buyer who wants a 2,000 sq ft garage with attached home.
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #19
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I suspect that many folks who lust after a "garage condo" seriously underestimate the inconvenience of having your projects located away from your house. If you have to commute to wrench or play with your toys, you'll find yourself doing it a lot less.

I can vouch for this. Right now I rent a 1k sq ft apartment approximately half an hour from where I rent a 20x40 shop bay with a buddy. My car is there. Given that I work a decent number of hours and am exhausted at the end of a workday, the combined hour round trip prevents me from going and chipping away at a project for an hour or similar.

If the car were on my property, things would move along at a much faster pace, as I could realistically put in half an hour here, half an hour there, etc...
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:19 PM   #20
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I really like the idea of a large shop/garage divorced from the main living structure but having it miles away is asinine (unless you plan on 'living' there part time, which is what the Garage Mahal dude appears to have in mind).

If I can't get drunk and work on my car, then walk a few yards into my house where a female is waiting with her legs spread to clean my fingers, then I'm not interested.
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