The “Winter Boating”

We had finally purchased our dream boat, a 38' Sea Ray Sundancer, and took delivery in South Haven, MI in December of 2008. South Haven is not very boating friendly in December so I had reserved a heated storage space in a commercial barn and immediately stored it there amidst several dozen other boats. I wanted heated storage but learned that this only meant keeping the facility around 45 degrees to keep everything from freezing.

I was excited about getting inside the facility to clean up and detail my new acquisition but I soon found out that, although the owner was most cooperative, I had to call him every time I wanted access to the facility and sometimes it wasn't very convenient for him or me. When I got inside I needed to turn up the heat in order to work on the boat but it never got comfortable enough to stay very long. Also, I soon discovered the wooden sailboat stored next to my boat was being sanded and refinished over the winter and the roof of the stoage facility leaked a bit and left water drips and stains on my bow. So every time I visited my boat I had to clean off the dust from the sanding and the water and stains from the leaky roof. I soon realized I wouldn't be happy until I found my own storage facility.

After launching the boat that Spring I decided to see what private storage spaces were available in the area. I found that there are other storage facilities in South Haven but none with running water and floor drains. I wanted to be able to wash down the boat and maybe a car or two from time to time so this was important to me. Location was also important as I needed my storage facility close enough to the boatyard to be able to haul in and out every season.

Within a few days of searching I came across Phoenix Storage Condominiums. The location was perfect and I was pleasantly surprised to learn these units have hot and cold running water, floor drains, and most of the owners have built bathrooms with showers, kitchens and even comfortable lofts in their units. I found out there were still a few units available so I contacted the owner, Roger Marcy, and set up a meeting to discuss the possibilities. I will admit I was not very hopeful as these luxury units looked very expensive and we were working within a budget.

Roger met with us the next day and we discussed our options. I was very surprised to learn that we could build out our storage space the way we wanted it and the biggest surprise was the final cost. This was well within budget.

We ended up purchasing a 40' x 50' facility and finished it with a full bath and kitchen with ceramic tile floors, a carpeted loft area (adding another 250 square feet) and a beautiful epoxy floor in the storage and work areas. Our unit has two natural gas furnaces (we use one and set the other one as a backup). I keep the temperature at 50 degrees when I'm not there and turn it up to a comfortable 70 degrees when I want to work inside. It only takes a few minutes to bring up the temperature and the units are so well insulated the seasonal heating cost is minimal.

I can honestly say I am extremely satisfied with our Phoenix Storage Condominium. The location is perfect and we can come and go any time we please and work in a very clean and comfortable environment. We actually enjoy going there and we've even been known to have a cocktail or two sitting on the boat during the off season. We call it "Winter Boating."

We would be happy to discuss our purchase and ownership experience and even show our luxury storage condo to anyone considering making this type of investment. I think you'll be surprised at what you can get for the price and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it! Please feel free to call me.

Steve Earls - 616.291.0711

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