Part of the reason the self storage industry is such a success is that there is a never ending need for more space. Until the day that it is cheaper and easier to move in to a larger house (never) people will always have a need for self storage. However, while the industry has worked hard to overcome the negative stereotype (that they are a blight on the image of a community) one can’t help but wonder if we could do better.
Many self storage facilities are now among the more aesthetically pleasing in the community, but what if you didn’t have to see them? What if they were underground? As crazy as the notion may sound it is already being done.
The place is called the Citadel Caverns. Located in Atchison, Kansas, the facility is largely underground and was once a storage facility used by the military. Last April the facility and adjacent land were purchased from the government at auction for just over half a million dollars. It is now the site of a number of businesses including Citadel Caverns.
When it was first established during World War II the government had been searching or a place where they could store a larger amount of perishable food items. They needed a place with a fairly constant temperature and level of humidity. Someone suggested they ty the Kerford Mines and the rest is now history.
But what makes them so great for self storage? Several reasons:
Security: they still have many of the same features as most self storage facilities, but with the facilities mostly underground access can be strictly controlled
Costs: with the ground going a long way to regulating the temperature utilities are significantly lower. Not only that, but maintenance costs are lower as well (i.e. with no leaky roof to fix…).
Availability: there is already over 1.6 million square feet of storage space underground.
Environmental: it needs much less energy to run and fewer materials to build.
Disaster resistant: you always hear that you should find a ditch if you are out when a tornado comes up. Well—it doesn’t get much lower than underground!
The idea will seem odd to some because the facility is largely underground, but there is really no need to worry about cave-ins or anything like that. The caves have been in use since WWII; the government has made sure it is safe.
“Citadel Caverns Self-Storage Commercial Takes Viewers Inside Facility ‘Cave’.” Self Storage TV; 18 March 2014.
Citadel Cavers; Why Underground?
Atchison Storage Facility; Wikipedia.