Neighbor, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup that wants to be the Airbnb of self-storage, is partnering with landlords to turn empty offices into spaces for people’s stuff

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Joseph Woodbury, cofounder and CEO of Neighbor

The Airbnb of self-storage, Neighbor, has seen a surge in demand as a result of the pandemic, according to CEO and cofounder Joseph Woodbury. 
The company announced a partnership Tuesday with landlord and operator Bridgeton Holdings to fill vacant office space with self-storage in San Francisco and eventually across the country. 
“The sky is the limit on commercial-style space that can be onboarded to the platform,” said Woodbury.
This comes as the office market has taken a big hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

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The coronavirus has accelerated the trend of using under-utilized real estate for other purposes, like turning retail storefronts and parking lots into distribution hubs for e-commerce fulfillment and redeveloping malls into communities by adding residential units.

One area of commercial real estate that’s in high demand is self-storage. The average spend on construction of new facilities per year jumped to $5 billion in 2018 from $1 billion in 2015. With the coronavirus prompting moves, a likely trigger for self-storage needs, it’s possible that high amounts of spend on construction may not be enough to meet the supply.

That’s the thesis behind Neighbor, a company founded in 2017 to match people looking to store their stuff with people who have extra space in their home, garage, or shed. The person with the extra space receives rent for the space, while the person looking to store things pays roughly half of the going rate for self-storage in their area. The concept turns the gig economy into something closer to the passive investment of owning real estate, requiring even less attention than an Airbnb property.

“This is the first marketplace where you can list a garage, have someone store their boat in your garage. You don’t see them for a year, but all that time, you get passive income for basically doing no work,” Neighbor CEO and cofounder Joseph Woodbury told Business Insider. 

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While the company remains committed to the marketplace, it also announced today that it is partnering with New York-based landlord and developer Bridgeton Holdings to bring self-storage to vacant office space. While the partnership is originally focused on the San Francisco area, the plan is to expand to properties across the country in Bridgeton’s portfolio, according to Woodbury. Bridgeton, which owns 40 properties across five states according to its website, has launched a new operating company for the project – Stuuf.

Woodbury told Business Insider that the company plans to continue signing deals with commercial real-estate owners of all types. With coronavirus potentially reshuffling the deck for office operators, and almost certainly continuing to accelerate the retail apocalypse, there may be a lot more space available for the company in densely populated areas, ideal for self-storage. 

Read more: Companies from banks to tech giants are looking to shed huge chunks of office space. Here’s a look at 8 key sublease offers — and what they mean for rents in big-city markets.

Woodbury said that this isn’t the company’s first partnership. 

“We’ve partnered with one of the largest airport parking …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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