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Storage in Richmond, CA
Self Storage in Richmond, California
Richmond is a city in western Contra Costa County, California, United States. The city was incorporated on August 7, 1905. Located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, Richmond borders the cities of San Pablo, Albany, El Cerrito and Pinole in addition to the unincorporated communities of North Richmond, Hasford Heights, Kensington, El Sobrante, Bayview-Montalvin Manor, Tara Hills, and East Richmond Heights, and for a short distance San Francisco on Red Rock Island in the San Francisco Bay. Richmond is one of two cities, the other being San Rafael, California, that sits on the shores of San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay simultaneously.
Under the McLaughlin Administration, Richmond was the largest city in the United States served by a Green Party mayor. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city's population is at 103,710, making it the second largest city in the United States named Richmond. The largest, Richmond, Virginia, is the namesake of the California city.
The Ohlone were the first inhabitants of the Richmond area, settling an estimated 5,000 years ago. They spoke the Chochenyo language and subsisted as hunter-gatherers and harvesters.
The name "Richmond" appears to predate actual incorporation by more than fifty years. Edmund Randolph, originally from Richmond, Virginia, represented the city of San Francisco when California's first legislature met in San Jose in December 1849, and he became state assemblyman from San Francisco. His loyalty to the town of his birth caused him to persuade a federal surveying party mapping the San Francisco Bay to place the names "Point Richmond" and "Richmond" on an 1854 geodetic coast map, which was the geodetic map at the terminal selected by the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad; and by 1899 maps made by the railroad carried the name "Point Richmond Avenue", designating a county road that later became Barrett Avenue, a central street in Richmond.
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad had its terminus at Richmond. The first post office opened in 1900.
Richmond was founded and incorporated in 1905, carved out of Rancho San Pablo, from which the nearby town of San Pablo inherited its name. Until the enactment of prohibition in 1919, the city had the largest winery in the world; the small abandoned village of Winehaven remains fenced off along Western Drive in the Point Molate Area. Starting in 1917, and continuing through the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was active in the city. In 1930 the Ford Motor Company opened an assembly plant called Richmond Assembly Plant which moved to Milpitas in 1956. The old Ford plant has been a National Historic Place since 1988, and in 2004 was purchased by developer Eddie Orton and has been converted into an events center (Ford Point Building – The Craneway). The city was a small town at that time, until the onset of World War II which brought on a rush of migrants and a boom in the industrial sector. Standard Oil set up operations here in 1901, including a what is now the Chevron Richmond Refinery and tank farm, which are still operated by Chevron. There is a pier into San Francisco Bay south of Point Molate for oil tankers. The western terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad was established in Richmond with ferry connections at Ferry Point in the Brickyard Cove area of Point Richmond to San Francisco.
At the outset of World War II, the four Richmond Shipyards were built along the Richmond waterfront, employing thousands of workers, many recruited from all over the United States, including many African-Americans and women entering the workforce for the first time. Many of these workers lived in specially constructed houses scattered throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Richmond, Berkeley and Albany. A specially built rail line, the Shipyard Railway, transported workers to the shipyards. Kaiser's Richmond shipyards built 747 Victory and Liberty ships for the war effort, more than any other site in the U.S. The city broke many records and even built one Liberty ship in a record five days. On average the yards could build a ship in thirty days. The medical system established for the shipyard workers at the Richmond Field Hospital eventually became today's Kaiser Permanente HMO. It remained in operation until 1993 when it was replaced by the modern Richmond Medical Center hospital, that has subsequently expanded to a large multiple building campus.
Point Richmond was originally the commercial hub of the city, but a new downtown arose in the center of the city. It was populated by many department stores such as Kress, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy's, and Woolworth's. During the war the population increased dramatically and peaked at around 120,000 by the end of the war. Once the war ended the shipyard workers were no longer needed, beginning a decades-long population decline. The Census listed 99,545 residents in 1950. By 1960 much of the temporary housing built for the shipyard workers was torn down, and the population dropped to about 71,000. Many of the people who moved to Richmond were black and came from the Midwest and South. Most of the white men were overseas at war, and this opened up new opportunities for ethnic minorities and women. This era also brought with it the innovation of daycare for children, as a few women could care for several dozen women's children, while most of the mothers went off to work in the factories and shipyards.
In the 1970s the Hilltop area including a large shopping mall was developed in the northern suburbs of the city; this further depressed the downtown area as it drew away retail clients and tenants. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the Richmond Parkway was built along the western industrial and northwestern parkland of the city connecting Interstates 80 and 580.
In the early 1900s, the Santa Fe railroad established a major rail yard adjacent to Point Richmond. The railroad constructed a tunnel through the Potrero San Pablo ridge to run a track from their yard to a ferry landing from which freight cars could be transshipped to San Francisco. Where this track crosses the main street in Point Richmond, there remain two of the last operational wigwag grade crossing signals in the United States, and the only surviving examples of the "upside-down" type. The wigwag is an antiquated type of railroad crossing signal which was phased out in the 1970s and 80s across the country. There was controversy in 2005 when the State Transportation Authority ordered the BNSF railroad company to upgrade the railroad crossing signals. A compromise was achieved that included installing new modern crossing gates, red lights and bells while not removing, but simply shutting off the historic ones and preserving their functionality for special events.
The Pullman Company also established a major facility in Richmond in the early 20th century. The facility connected with both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific and serviced their passenger coach equipment. The Pullman Company was a large employer of African American men, who worked mainly as porters on the Pullman cars. Many of them settled in the East Bay, from Richmond to Oakland, prior to World War II.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had planned to visit Richmond just prior to his assassination.
In 2006 the city celebrated its centennial. This coincided with the repaving and streetscaping project of Macdonald Avenue. The city's old rundown commercial district along Macdonald has been designated the city's "Main Street District" by the state of California. This has led to funding of improvements in the form of state grants.
History of Mini Storage or Self Storage
Self-storage is the term applied to the facilities which offer do-it-yourself, month-to-month storage spaces. They are also referred to as "mini-storage" or incorrectly "mini warehouses" by some. While many types of structures have been utilized, including warehouses, car dealerships, and other prior-use buildings, the most common types of facilities have been built for this purpose.
A 'typical' storage facility might be on 2.5 to 5 acres with long rows of five to seven one story buildings containing from forty to one hundred-thousand square feet of rentable area. The buildings have exterior doors with most units offering direct, drive-up access. This enables the space to be fully utilized. The tenant uses his own padlock and has sole access.
Some storage facilities are simply renovated buildings transformed into storage operations. Some new multi-story facilities offer individual unit access only from interior hallways. Generally, customers prefer drive-up, single-story self-storage facilities, however, many newer facilities are constructed this way.
A number of other types of self-storage are found in the marketplace. This includes: outdoor storage for boats and motor vehicles, the use of modified intermodal containers or other types of movable modules as mini-storage facilities, vaults or high security safety boxes, and climate-controlled storage for business records and fragile or expensive items and materials.
Facilities vary greatly in quality, construction, materials, and security, as well as in size. There are many in the 10,000-30,000 square foot range and many larger than 100,000 square feet. Some have corridor units, two stories, multiple on-site apartments, etc. Existing properties have storage units which range in size from less than 50 square feet to more than 1,600 square feet. The average unit size is typically about 100 square feet. Most facilities offer a range of unit sizes from 5'x 5' to 10'x 30'.
Storage spaces are basically bare rooms without utilities or other appurtenances. They are intended to provide "dead" storage space and have no utilities other than a light fixture. Some facilities offer air-conditioned units in hot, humid areas. Others offer limited heating in cold climates, although this option is not very common for a variety of reasons. As a general rule, self-storage operators simply rent space to customers who store personal items and are not allowed to work in their space, live in it or storage perishables/animals.
Personal storage has existed from earliest of times. While on a trip to Xian China, Buzz Victor, the founder of the Self Storage Association, saw where the Chinese people stored their belongings in clay pots in public underground storage pits as far back as 6,000 years ago.
Credit for the beginning of the modem personal storage must go to England. It all began when British banking institutions were asked to safeguard valuables for clients embarking on extended voyages. John Yelland, one of the first self-storage pioneers in California, noted that when British banking institutions were asked to safeguard valuables for clients embarking on extended voyages, the bankers would seek space from the moving (drayage) companies. Overcrowded vaults forced bankers to seek help from the drayage companies for those who had brought in these valued possessions. These drayage companies procured storage space in primitive lofts which were little better than stables.
In the 1850s, the original moving and storage pioneers such as Bekins, devised the first warehouse specifically constructed for household goods and treasured personal items. One storage warehouse developed in 1900 was not unlike a modern self storage facility known as private room storage. Minneapolis Van Lines and Weimer Storage in Elizabeth, New Jersey were other moving and storage companies that offered personal storage during the 1920s. Belongings were shipped via horse and cart, then unloaded downstairs and taken to the tenant's individual room on the second floor. The early storage facilities were two-story structures. All packing was performed on the lower floor and private storage rooms were located on the second floor. This principle of storage prevailed for the next sixty years, but the moving and storage warehouses grew into four, six and ten story structures with freight elevators. Some of the floors were open areas where the belongings were stacked. Other floors had shelves and racks, although storage rooms were the major method of storage.
Arthur Trachte, of Trachte Building Systems, built interconnected metal garages for "cars without homes" in 1928. Typically, in these examples, the operator or landlord had responsibility for the items being stored. When a landlord or "warehouseman" takes "care, custody, and control," it creates a bailment arrangement with the customer, and the liability falls upon the warehouseman.
During the 1950's, the storage industry was faced with rising cost. As a result, the palletized warehouse was developed in a 26-foot high concrete tilt-up building with tenant belongings crated and stacked three high in wooden boxes. The boxes were moved around with a forklift. This worked well when the storage involved long distance moving, however, it was inconvenient and costly to the customer if the customer wanted access his belongings.
In the mid-1960's, the first self-storage facilities were opened in Texas. Self-storage proved immediately successful. Since the mid-60s, mini storage facilities have spread throughout the United States and Canada, with facilities now being constructed in Australia and Europe. The early “self-storage” pioneers, as we know it today, started in the mid-1960s included Russ Williams, Bob Munn, Charles, Ronald, and Richard Bowyer, Louis Rochester and his many partners, Tom Brundage, Guy Robertson, and Sam Judge. To put their accomplishments into perspective, each of them were building years before Public Storage built their first facility in El Cajon, California.
Russ Williams, and his stepson Munn, built the first self-storage facility in Texas called "A-1 U-Store-It U-Lock-It U-Carry the Key" in Odessa. Russ Williams worked his entire life in the oil industry, and in the 1960s he owned an oil industry service company. Russ and Bob were both avid fishermen, and they needed a place to store both their boats and their oil field equipment. Other firms in the oil industry also needed to have quick access storage for their equipment in the event of an emergency. According to Munn, Williams had seen some apartments somewhere with four to 10 garages side by side with common walls between them such as one project in Irving, Texas built by Paul Nelson in 1962. Others have reported that Williams heard about the concept while ill in a hospital. Williams discussed the idea of building a storage facility with Louis Rochester in 1964. Rochester chose not to become a partner in the original project and sold the land to Williams for that first facility.
The first facility was located in an industrial area and was 100 feet by 30 feet in size. The facility had asphalt drives and was built with block walls, block partitions and panel garage doors. The units were 10 feet by 30 feet to accommodate 24-foot bass boat trailers. To call attention to the facility, the building was painted yellow and the doors black. Williams observed that the residential customers wanted to store household items instead of boats. In attempt to keep up with the demand, Williams added on to the facility several times, and also added an office.
They built a second facility in a more residential area of Odessa and named it "A-1 U-Store-It Warehouses". Their third facility was built in 1966 in Midland, and it consisted of 300 storage units. Williams and Munn continued to build in the west Texas market close to El Paso in 1969. Henry Taylor also built "AA Storage" in El Paso that same year. Friends of Munn and Williams, Stephen and Paul Payne of Lubbock started building their "A-ABC Self Storage", "A-1 U-Store-It", and "Aardvark Self Storage" in Lubbock in 1970.
Williams also formed a partnership with Foy Hall from Corpus Christi. The new facilities were being built under the registered name "A-1 U-Store-It Warehouse, Inc." In 1966 Foy Hall built his "A-1 U-Store-It" in McAllen, and had his son-in-law, Bob Mallory, manage the facility. Mr. Hall went on to build several others in south Texas, the first self-storage in Austin in 1967, and the first in Corpus Christi in 1969. Mallory suggested to an old Air Force friend, Gene Flesner from Colorado Springs, that he should get into the storage business. After checking it out, Mr. Flesner bought the name "U-Store-It" from Foy Hall. Starting in 1971 Flesner built at least two "U-Store-It" facilities in Colorado Springs, and Public Storage presently owns both facilities. Mr. Flesner also developed under the name "Valley Mini Storage." On the advice of his son who was going to school in Texas, Frank Blumeyer checked out both Mr. Hall’s Corpus facility, and Flesner’s facilities in Colorado. He then started building "A Storage Inn" facilities in St. Louis in 1972.
Charles Bowyer and his father saw the A-1 U-Store-It in Mc Allen, Texas, and they built their first "Stor-More" facility in their hometown of Brownsville in 1967. Charles and his brothers Richard and Ronald proceeded to build approximately 31 facilities throughout south Texas. Currently, most of these facilities are owned by Doug Mayer and are operated under the name "Best Little Warehouses in Texas." While visiting relatives in Fresno, California in 1968, Bowyer tried to obtain bank financing to build additional facilities. Though he was unsuccessful in getting financing, the bank officers seemed very intrigued with this new form of real estate. At approximately the same time, Darrel Ridenour started to build the "Darrel’s Mini Storage" in Fresno. It may only be a coincidence, but this appears to be the link to start of facilities in California.
Melvin "Dutch" Ehler, a retired colonel from the Air Force, lived in San Antonio, and while visiting a friend in South Texas, he saw this new concept of self-storage. Liking the concept, he formed a partnership with Frank Stanush to build the first facility in San Antonio on Loop 410 in 1969. Ehler and his wife, along with Stanush decided to name their facility "A-1 Self Storage," thus coining the term "self-storage." Several years later, the Ehlers agreed to sell a set of their plans to Don Daniels for $55.00 with the understanding that he would not build them in San Antonio. Daniels and his partner, Charles Barbo, built their first facility in Tumwater, Washington in 1974. This partnership later became "Shurgard Storage Centers."
A previous business partner with Frank Stanush, Tom Brundage saw the A-1 Self Storage, and in turn, he started building the "A-AAA Key Mini Warehouses" in 1969. Brundage typically built larger facilities, more in the range of 50,000 square feet. He also built more than one in a particular market. Approximately 38 A-AAA Keys have been built in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Illinois.
A facility called "A-OK Mini Storage" appears to be the first facility built in the Houston area in 1970. After seeing Foy Hall’s Corpus facility and the A-Ok Mini, Sam Judge built the second facility in Houston called "U Store Um" on South Shaver. Judge went on to build several others in Houston and five in the New York area. One of his projects was the first high-rise conversion in Yonkers, New York called "Big Yellow." Several other developers completed self-storage projects that year in Houston.
Shortly after Judge opened his first facility, Guy Robertson opened his first "Pilgrim Self Service Storage" on Gufton in Houston. The Pilgrims were typically large projects of 80,000 to 100,000 square feet, and many were two stories with stairs to the second level. Robertson went on to build approximately 40 Pilgrims in Houston, Dallas-Ft.Worth, Atlanta, and Indianapolis and other cities. Various operators including Sovran and Public Storage currently own all of the Pilgrims. In 1987, Robertson started Private Mini Storage. Private now has approximately sixty-four facilities in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. Robertson has also been credited with building the first climate-controlled facility in 1987.
Though Pilgrim built twelve facilities in the Dallas and Ft. Worth area, the first in Tarrant County was by Richard Farrell. He had lived in Odessa and had seen the original "A-1 U-Store-It." When he moved to Arlington, he built the Lakewood Shopping Center and a self-storage facility in Pantego in 1968. C.B. Dodson built the "Mini Warehouse Company" in Arlington in 1969. A few years later, Charles Bowyer moved from Brownsville and started building "Stor-More" facilities in Tarrant County.
George Fields had seen the Russ Williams building in Odessa, and he formed a partnership with Bob R. Hudgin Jr. to build the first in Dallas County in 1968. While driving back from a trip to south Texas, Fields and his wife were trying to think of a simple name for the facility. At that time, mini-skirts were in vogue, and his wife suggested "Mini Warehouse." They registered the name "Mini Warehouse," and that was the name they chose for their new 55-unit facility located on Kirby in Garland. Fields visited the Bekins warehouse on East Mockingbird (now a Public Storage), where they rented individual spaces separated only by chicken wire. In order to set his rental rates, he took the Bekins’ prices and doubled them. Also in 1969, Jack Goodall and Van Ellis built two "Any-Fill Midget Warehouses." In that same year, the Stor-All’s were built in Irving. Mike Dyer, Paul Rawley, and Barton White were all early developers of self-storage in Dallas. In 1971, Alex Hudson of "American Warehouse Company" built "Stowaway Self Storage" on Sheila Lane. A year later, Norman and Pat Williamson started managing the Stowaway facility. They continued managing the property until July 2000, making them the longest continuous managers of a self-storage facility in the United States. One of their first tenants was Stanley Crossman, who later started developing the "The Attic Self Storage" facilities.
Probably the most influential pioneer in our industry was Louis Rochester. Rochester, as mentioned above, sold the land to Russ Williams for that first self-storage project in Odessa. Rochester, owner of Ector Shopping Centers Inc., was involved in many real estate activities. Observing Williams’ success, Rochester built his first "Colonial Warehouses" in San Angelo in 1969. He and his brother-in-law, Tom Murphy, went on to build approximately 25 facilities in West Texas and New Mexico. Later, under the name of "Colonial Storage Centers," Rochester also formed several partnerships with Mike Dyer (Dallas area), Norm Mason (North Carolina area), James Pruett (Mid-Cities and East Coast area), Charles and Fred Gatlin (Mid-Cities area), Joe Fugit (East Texas), and others.
Pruett noted that there was a general need to change the name from "warehouses" due to zoning and potential liability problems. The various partnerships built approximately 250 self-storage facilities throughout the United States. According to Rochester, Prudential Insurance provided the partnerships with financing with the requirement that their facilities were to be smaller in size (100 to 250 units) and generally one facility to each market area. At this early stage in self-storage, Prudential was not sure of how well the concept would be received by the public. Now, with between 30-40,000 facilities throughout the United States, we know that Russ Williams’ original concept of self-storage buildings has caught on.
Second Generation and Third Generation Self Storage
The majority of facilities operating today are classified as "second generation" self-storage. These include: typical row buildings, some multi storage facilities and conversion of older buildings, perhaps remodeled warehouses or similar structures.
The newer "third generation" concepts may be located in light commercial or even multi-family residential neighborhoods (rather than the traditional industrial corridor or location in heavier commercial areas). These newer facilities emphasize aesthetics in construction, designed to blend in with the "retail" nature of the neighborhoods they serve. Landscaping has also become a prime consideration, as well as development of mini storage in conjunction with a planned tract of offices, retail stores, or business park development.
Some high rise mini storage facilities appear very similar to multistory office complexes. For example, one New Orleans area mini storage facility was designed and located in a structure which also includes a financial institution and high security vault type storage. A number of facilities are now combined with the "incubator" or "starter" office storage arrangements which appeal to novice businesses. Often facilities share a site with a shopping center complex facing the street and mini storage to the rear of the development
Self-storage has matured and is now prevalent throughout the United States and several foreign countries. Formerly viewed by many as substandard real estate, self-storage has proven its value to society and has become a sophisticated retail business. Self storage has spread, survived good and bad economic conditions, and developed as an industry with its own association and specialized suppliers.
Richmond, CA Military Storage
Richmond does not have any nearby military bases, and therefore there is little military storage in Richmond. Your individual circumstances will dictate whether it’s worth the extra drive to get more affordable storage. If you’re going to have a storage unit for a longer period of time (more than a couple years) and you don’t need to access it often (only a few times a year) then it may be worthwhile to commute to Point Richmond Self Storage even if you are serving on a military base far from Richmond.
Richmond, CA University Storage
There are not any colleges in Richmond proper, but there are universities in neighboring cities, such as Berkeley, and therefore there is some need for university self storage.
It’s also important however, to not only consider where you are going to school, but also where your stuff is located before you move it to storage. If you’ll be visiting your storage unit regularly, then choose a storage facility near your university. If you’ll be a long-term storage tenant, then also consider where you’ll relocate after college! If Richmond is home and you know you’ll return to your roots post-college then you have your answer. Either way, be sure to inquire about Point Richmond Self Storage’s student discounts!
Richmond, CA RV and Boat Storage
The term RV and Boat Storage is common lingo for the storage industry, but it’s a bit of a misnomer. Point Richmond Self Storage has some storage spaces that work for anything with wheels! At our Richmond self storage location for example, in addition to RV storage and boat storage, we have customers storing limos, motorcycles, trailers, moving trucks, semi-trucks, regular old cars, fifth wheels, and even school buses!
Richmond, CA RV Storage Considerations
Beyond searching for affordable RV storage, customers generally consider whether their RV storage space is covered or uncovered, security precautions of the self-storage facility, and the length and width of the RV storage space. The length of an RV space is straight forward – the RV either fits or it doesn’t. The space width however, is an underappreciated RV storage consideration.
Richmond, CA Boat Storage Considerations
If you water-ski you may be headed to a lake after hitching up your boat at your Richmond boat storage facility. Be sure to avoid heavy traffic hours, and any of those water skiing destinations on the Delta, Lake Berryessa or other spots are only a few hours away. Favor a fishing rod over water skis? You’re likely headed to the San Francisco Bay, the Delta or one of the local lakes, but you’re still within reasonable driving distance if you live in Richmond and want to store your boat in your own backyard. If you live in Richmond, the benefit of renting a Richmond boat storage facility is convenient access to your boat storage space regardless of your destination. Also consider pre-paying to lock in your storage rate. It would be a shame to rent several hours from home to get the cheapest boat storage, only to have your rent increase shortly after renting your storage space. Regardless of whether you use Richmond boat storage, but sure to wear sunscreen when you’re on the water!