DAILY BRIEFING: Storage shortage, new way to get library materials, and more

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, April 5. Expect abundant sunshine and a high temperature near 98 degrees today. First, some news you need to know …

Storage space at a premium; help could come soon

The real estate crisis in Palm Springs may dominate headlines, but a related issue – with far less sexy architecture – is happening in tandem.

The big picture: The self-storage business is booming. In just the past five years, construction of new self-storage facilities has spiked. Developers went from spending around $1 billion annually on new construction to $5 billion in just three years.

  • Right now, there are twice as many self-storage businesses in the United States than all Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.

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But why? There’s a shift in not only where we live, but how. Baby Boomers are downsizing in retirement, and younger people are moving to cities, where there’s less space.

What’s different here: Palm Springs was always popular with retirees, and the pandemic created more of them thanks to a spike in early retirements. The pandemic also saw more remote workers ditch their homes in the suburbs and relocate to second homes here. Combining two homes into one seems like a good idea until you need a place to store inherited armoires and Beanie Babies you’ve been collecting over the years.

In the trenches: The law of supply and demand is definitely playing out in Palm Springs. Consider the following:

  • Monthly rent for a 10×10 storage unit — the most common size — averages around $100 across the United States. In Palm Springs, if you can find one, you’ll be paying roughly twice that amount. On Palm Springs social media pages, it’s not unusual to hear of monthly fee hikes of 25% or more when it comes time to renew a storage rental agreement.
  • The 10×10 rents here are on par with San Francisco ($199 a month) and Los Angeles ($172). Need better rates? try Lubbock, Texas, where 10×10 rents are the lowest in the nation — $46 a month.

Help coming: Demand shows no sign of letting up, but what about supply? Some should be coming. A pair of new self-storage projects are in the pipeline at City Hall as developers try to tap into what’s projected to be a $44 billion industry by 2024.

  • One developer plans to build a 62,000-square-foot facility called West Coast Self Storage on a 3.5-acre plot of land off Gene Autry Trail near the Escena development. It was approved with conditions last month by the city’s Planning Commission, but failed to move forward Monday evening when discussed by the city’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC). After grilling the developer’s representative for nearly two hours, and criticizing the industrial design of what is ultimately an industrial project, commission members continued their consideration of the project, asking the developer to submit different designs. 
  • Another developer held a pre-application meeting with the city in January to discuss plans for a third Extra Space Self Storage location in the desert. It would be built at the northwest corner of Camino Parocela and Gene Autry Trail (across the street from a Staples store). No permits have been issued for that project yet.

“Open up some design books or something. This thing looks like it’s straight out of tilt-up world in San Bernardino.”

— Sean Lockyer, Palm Springs Architectural Review Committee, commenting on a proposed self-storage facility off Gene Autry Trail

? Briefly

A program called Zip Books will be implemented in Palm Springs, thanks to a grant from the California State Library.

NEW LIBRARY PROGRAM: The Palm Springs Public Library is making it easier to check out books or audiobooks that aren’t available. Through a grant-funded program called Zip Books, library card-holders simply fill out a request form, then the library will order it through Amazon, and the book is shipped directly to the resident’s home. When the book is returned to the library, it’s added to the collection. Jeannie Kays, director of library services, says the streamlined process will make it easier to offer books the community wants. Zip Books began as a pilot project in 2011, funded by a grant from the California State Library. The program has proved to be extremely popular with libraries and library users throughout the state and has grown substantially over the past decade.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Desert Compost is looking for volunteers to work with city officials and staff to help advocate for community composting sites and educate residents about the benefits of composting. Since the passage of SB1383 in 2016, state agencies have been preparing strategies for processing and enforcement. The Palm Springs City Council already passed an ordinance in December 2021 to mandate organic waste collection services for all residents, including yard and food waste. Those services should begin in the city in in October. Food scraps in landfills create about 20% of methane emissions in the state each year, and by recapturing that waste the compost can be used in the soil of community gardens. Anyone interested in signing up to be an advocacy volunteer can inquire here.

GROCERY AGREEMENT? A tentative agreement was reached Monday in negotiations between the union representing Southern California grocery workers and stores including Ralphs and Vons/Pavilions/Albertsons, avoiding a potential strike. “Nothing is final until our members decide,” a statement from union representatives said. Terms of the agreement were not released. Union officials said they had been seeking a $5-per-hour wage hike, phased in over the next three years, along with bolstered safety standards and “adequate scheduling and hours.” The stores had offered annual 60-cent-per-hour wage increases over the next three years, totaling $1.80. A three-year labor contract between the unionized grocery workers and Southern California supermarkets expired March 7. Employees continued to work under the terms of the previous contract, but voted overwhelmingly’ last month to authorize a strike.

Today’s Daily Briefing is brought to you in partnership with The Palm Springs Windmill Tours

? Today’s events

  • The Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters are having coffee at Koffi, starting at 8 a.m. Later in the day they’re having afternoon tea starting at 1 p.m. at D’Coffee Bouteaque in Palm Desert

  • The Mizell Center offers multiple events and classes today, starting at 8 a.m.

  • The Desert Water Agency is holding is third public hearing about updating its election maps at 8 a.m.

  • Jazz on the 2nd Floor runs from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

  • The Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board meets tonight via zoom

  • Toastmasters starts at 6 p.m. Check here for information, including a special offer for subscribers to The Post.

? What to watch for

  • The Palm Springs Historical Society presents a talk titled The Evolution of Human Rights in Palm Springs on Wednesday at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, starting at 5:30 p.m.
  • The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce’s next tribute band performance takes place at Downtown Park Wednesday at 7 p.m. This month’s performer is Kenny Metcalf, performing as Elton John.
  • Dezart Performs presents Every Brilliant Thing through April 10.
  • The Ben Rosenblum Trio performs at Jazzville, at the Agua Caliente Casino’s Cascade Lounge, Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
  • The Friends of the Palm Springs Library Book Sale begins Friday at 10 a.m. and continues on Saturday.
  • The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus performs Friday through Sunday at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater. Razzle Dazzle Shine! features songs from the stage and screen.
  • The Desert Art Center‘s next show and reception is Friday, starting at 5 p.m.
  • The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (AKA The Chase) takes place Saturday, April 9. The annual gala helps raise funds for DAP Health.
  • The Havurah of the Desert is now accepting reservations for a 2nd-night community Seder, planned for Saturday, April 16. Reservations are $45 and can be made by going here.
  • The next Lez Out Loud comedy show is slated for April 23. Emcee and Comedian Mina Hartong is joined by two other comedians during the event at Runway Bar and Grill.

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