<B>By KAREN SUCHARSKI</B> <I><FONT SIZE=-1>Staff Reporter</FONT></I>

Self-storage units have become more important recently as companies relocateto Colorado Springs and employees must store their worldly goods while theysearch for the perfect home.

Danny Mientka, vice president of The Equity Group, an investment firm, hasfour storage projects between 10,020 square feet and 26,650 square feet inthe development and construction phases. The projects, which will all fallunder the universal trade name of Peak View Storage, cost from $225,000,or $22.45 per square foot, to $550,000, or $20.63 psf, to build.

The first two will open in August. Peak View East will consist of 100 unitsat 1012 Hathaway Drive, serving Peterson Air Force Base and Cimarron Hills.Peak View Central will consists of 177 units west of Circle Drive and GalleyRoad, serving the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the high concentrationof multifamily residences and small business in the Knob Hill area. Othersin the development stages are Peak View Country at Highway 24 near PetersonRoad and Peak View Manitou at Old Mans Trail and El Paso Boulevard in ManitouSprings.

Mientka said the units rent for the same psf cost of apartments but costone-third to build. A study done in June 1995 showed that when compared toapartment construction costs and lease rates, self-storage units cost lessthan one-half to build and rent for approximately two-thirds the psf priceof apartments.

SecurCare Self Storage Inc., based in Boulder, is also looking to expandits Colorado Springs presence. The company recently bought 4.53 acres onFlintridge Drive for $490,000. Owner Marlin Christensen purchased WestwindSelf Storage on South Nevada Avenue in March for $950,000. He also ownsAstro/SecurCare Self Storage on Astrozon Boulevard and four Boulder locations.Christensen could not be reached for comment.

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The 1995 study showed that Colorado Springs had approximately 50 self-storageproperties with 1.8 million square feet of storage space. The industry averageis three to six square feet per person. Dave Bamberger of Bamberger andAssociates said with Colorado Springs growing at a rate of approximately10,000 people per year, an additional 40,000 square feet of self-storageis needed to keep up with a normal occupancy rate of 93%.