Wine storage is booming, with a new project coming to East Naples
Is your home overflowing with wine?
A new, high-end self-storage project aims to help you out with its "wine vault." It's part of a growing national trend of building storage for luxury goods, such as high-priced cars and expensive wines.
Developer Rachel Keller, whose family has been in the real estate development business for more than 30 years in Florida, said she saw a need for wine storage and wanted to fill it.
While there are several other places in town that will store wine for collectors, demand exceeds supply. Finding enough room to store wine in a home can be tough, especially in Southwest Florida, where there are no basements.
The new project, Carl’s White Glove Personal Storage & Wine Vault, will be under construction soon at 11201 U.S. 41 East, across from Treviso Bay in East Naples. Groundbreaking is planned within 30 days.
For the developers, the storage project is a first.
"Fine wines have quickly become one of Americans' highest value asset classes," Keller said. "We are dedicated to treating our clients' prized wine collections and inventories as if it were our own."
The developers have consulted with wine expert Bruce Nichols, who recently opened The Wine Store on Central Avenue in downtown Naples, which includes wine storage for private collectors. His 23 temperature-controlled wine lockers went quickly, with most renters signing annual contracts. One locker can hold up to 42 cases of wine — or a little more than 500 bottles — for the most serious of collectors.
Some of the bottles of wine in storage at the store are worth thousands of dollars.
Before he opened his wine storage, Nichols — who is also a wine consultant to the Naples Winter Wine Festival and an honorary trustee — said he had to use a "hunt-and-peck" methodology to find space for his local clients.
He said he'd add more storage if he had room for it.
"Demand far outweighs the supply. With Carl's, they'll fill a huge void, especially on that side of town," Nichols said.
The Carl's temperature-controlled storage building will rise three stories and span nearly 90,000 square feet, with about 4,000 square feet of that space dedicated to wine storage. The number of units hasn't been decided on yet, and they'll vary in size.
Rental prices are still to be determined, too.
The building will have emergency backup power to maintain temperature and control humidity during power outages.
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The wine storage won't just be for private collectors. It's designed for restaurants, hotels, brokers and distributors — and it will come with white-glove, personalized service, as its name implies. Services will include inventory management, market valuation of collections, and pickup and delivery.
Customers will be able to ship their wines directly to the storage building.
The project, designed by MHK Architecture & Planning in Naples, is slated for completion by January. Gates Construction, a general contractor based in Bonita Springs, has been hired to build it.
In the Naples area there are a handful of other facilities offering wine storage. They include Fairways Storage & Wine Cellar, The Lock Up Self Storage, Olde Naples Self Storage, Simply Self Storage and ExtraSpace Storage.
At Fairways, off Shirley Street, there are 100 temperature and humidity-controlled storage units of various sizes on a floor dedicated to wine storage.
"We are over 90 percent full," said Alex Smith, the property manager.
There's a mixed bag of customers.
"It's part-time residents. We got wine clubs and some overflow from some restaurants," Smith said.
As the seasonal and year-round population has grown, so has the demand for the storage, which is rented by the month, he said.
The smallest unit for wine measures 2 feet by 4 feet, and 10 feet by 30 feet is the largest. The units start at $120 a month, and the cost is strictly for storage, with no extra services offered, Smith said.
The Lock Up has wine storage at two of its locations in Collier County. At the one off Pine Ridge Road, all 73 units are rented. However, there's still room at the location off Golden Gate Parkway, which is larger with more than 200 units dedicated to it, said Greg Laupert, an assistant manager for both sites.
The Lock Up accepts wine deliveries, and its staff will place them in clients' units if asked — or put them in the area chilled for wine storage until customers can pick up their bottles or put them away on their own.
"We've all done the math," Laupert said. "Percentage-wise it's better to have wine storage. But sometimes it's more demanding."
Wine storage is costlier because it has to be kept colder at 55 to 60 degrees, which means higher electricity bills for the building owners. But clients generally need smaller units and will pay more for them.
At the Lock Up, rent ranges from $29 a month for a unit that's big enough to store four cases of wine to $119 for one that fits 32 cases. Those prices don't include taxes.
"We offer insurance coverage on just about anything you store here, but with wine units there's no coverage," Laupert said. "We don't know the condition of the wine before it comes into our facility. We don't know where it came from or anything like that. It is what it is at that point."
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