By Paul Post
A multi-billion dollar company with assets from coast to coast and the Caribbean is pursuing plans to expand and move to the former Fingerpaint building at 395 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
Based at 85 Railroad Place since 2013, Prime Group Holdings purchased the building from Fingerpaint marketing firm owner Ed Mitzen for $11 million in late June.
The company has $5 billion in total assets and is one of the largest private owners of self-storage units, totaling more than 22 million square feet in 28 states and the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix.
“Prime Group is proud to be a longstanding member of the Saratoga Springs community and we look forward to expanding our operations in downtown Saratoga as our business continues to grow following the (2022) close of our third flagship self-storage fund,” said Robert Moser, company founder, principal and chief executive officer.
The company website says Prime Storage Fund III, its largest commingled private equity fund, is the largest self-storage real estate fund ever raised by a vertically integrated owner-operator.
Plans call for adding two more stories to the two-story, red brick building at the southwest corner of Broadway and Division Street, increasing space from 25,000 to 45,000 square feet.
“We are excited to develop state-of-the-art and energy efficient offices to best support our talented and experienced real estate investment team as we pursue value-add opportunities in private equity real estate, with a focus on fragmented asset classes,” Moser said.
In addition to its Saratoga Springs headquarters, Prime Group has a regional office in Jupiter, Fla. and investment origination offices in Denver and Hackensack, N.J. The firm has more than 600 employees including investment professionals, property managers, an investor reporting team, construction and marketing personnel and deal-sourcing professionals.
Prime Group facilities are found in dozens of major U.S. markets including, but not limited to Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
Growth has been both steady and aggressive the past few years. Notable self-storage acquisitions have included 535,000 square feet in Atlanta and 221,000 square feet in Coastal North Carolina in 2017; 119,00 square feet in Portsmouth, R.I., 126,000 square feet in Danbury, Ct. and 68,000 square feet in Bridgehampton, N.Y. in 2018; and 115,000 square feet in Fair Lawn, N.J. in 2019.
Prime was extremely busy in 2021 with the addition of 275,000 square feet in Florida, 152,000 square feet in Perris, Ca., and 443,000 square feet in South Carolina followed by the 2022 acquisition of 85,000 square feet in Manchester, N.H. and 124,000 square feet on Cape Cod.
The company has a strong regional presence and continues to explore local growth opportunities as well.
“We own and manage self storage properties in Wilton, Malta, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Queensbury, Albany, Latham, Schenectady and elsewhere in the region,” Moser said. “We are always looking to add to our self-storage portfolio, including in the Capital District.”
Mitzen, a renowned healthcare marketing expert, founded Fingerpaint in 2008 and moved the company to 395 Broadway in 2012. It was originally built for and was home to a Borders bookstore. After leasing the building for several years, he bought it from a Buffalo real estate firm five years ago for $9 million.
Previously, Prime Group considered building a brand new, six-story, 160,000-square-foot office building at a currently vacant lot at 269 Broadway, adjacent to Saratoga Central Catholic School. But with rising interest rates and the high cost of materials, these plans were shelved when the projected price tag became more than double the original $30 million estimate.
In contrast, expanding and renovating the former Fingerpaint building, including a first-floor retail space, is expected to cost about $15 million.
Moser declined comment about future plans for 269 Broadway, a half-acre property, which he purchased from prominent Saratoga Springs realtor Tom Roohan for $2.25 million in 2019.