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Real-Estate Entrepreneur Bets RV Storage Is the Next Big Thing

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Thousands of recreational vehicle owners will be traveling this summer. Gary Wojtaszek’s new business is what happens when they come back.

The real estate entrepreneur, best known for building and selling a data center company for around $15 billion this year, has launched a new niche commercial real estate business. It focuses on storing recreational vehicles (RVs) when not in use. Strong sales of RVs During the pandemic, people chose vacations that allowed them to maintain social distancing.

Wojtaszek and his capital partner, private equity firm Centerbridge Partners LP, founded RecNation RV & Boat Storage. The company owns 31 facilities in Texas, Florida, and Arizona that store recreational vehicles, boats, all-terrain vehicles, and other leisure equipment.

RecNation is under contract to acquire 10 more locations over the next six weeks and will spend about $300 million once the current transaction in the pipeline closes, Wojtaszek said. He hopes to expand to up to 400 properties eventually by acquiring smaller operators.

“This is not a really well run, professionally managed industry,” said Wojtaszek. “It’s just a family run operator.”

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RecNation’s expansion comes as investors seek new commercial real estate businesses for growth. Challenges posed by traditional property typesPrices for industrial buildings and apartments are starting to rise, while the pandemic-boosted trend of remote work is calling office building valuations into question.

Niche sectors such as data centers, university housing, and self-storage have performed well in recent years. Scale allows us to invest more in things like digital marketing and professional services than our smaller competitors.

“You can build a cluster [of locations] Centerbridge Senior Managing Director Billy Rahm said: US marina business.

RV manufacturers such as

Toll Industries.

,

Winnebago Industries.

When

Berkshire Hathawayof

Forest River RV shipped a record 600,000+ vehicles in 2021. According to the RV Industry Association, this year will be his second-biggest year with over 500,000 units shipped.

However, high gasoline prices and inflation, and the possibility of a recession, could reduce sales. Packed with marble countertops, multiple bathrooms, and king-size beds, his top-of-the-line RVs come with 150-gallon gas tanks and can cost upwards of $1 million.

Manufacturers may need to raise prices to compensate for increased costs. Winnebago CEO Michael Happe said on the company’s June earnings call that “consumers…will not like it very much.”

Wojtaszek predicts demand for storage will remain strong even if a recession hits or high inflation dampens RV sales. He pointed out other trends benefiting the storage business. In particular, increasing efforts by homeowners associations in some communities to ban him from storing his RV or boat in front of his home.

Wojtaszek started building data center company CyrusOne Inc. while working at Cincinnati Bell Inc. and became CEO when it was spun off in a 2013 IPO.this sold this year Acquisition company KKR & Co. and Global Infrastructure Partners LLC in a transaction valued at approximately $15 billion, including debt.

When Covid-19 hit, he and his wife chose to buy an Airstream RV and travel across the United States. When he had trouble finding storage, he started thinking about his RV storage business. Wojtaszek ended up paying more than $10 million for his 12-acre warehouse business located about 20 miles from his home in Dallas.

RecNation rates range from $150 to $700 per month depending on the size of the RV and location of the facility. Wojtaszek encloses all storage units and provides a variety of services such as maintenance assistance, sewage treatment plants, and “generally a hassle when you have to deal with them,” making it easier for many locations. said to be investing.

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