GARDINER —By the time that next year’s moving season has begun, a PODS facility will be open in Gardiner’s Business Park at Libby Hill.
“This is one of our fastest-growing markets on a per capita basis,” Daniel Knafo, director of real estate, said Tuesday.
Knafo was among the people gathered at the construction site on Enterprise Drive to mark for an informal groundbreaking ceremony.
The company has a facility in Nashua, New Hampshire, and Portland. The Portland operation is now exceeding its capacity, Knafo said.
“We’re looking north because there there’s a lot of housing starts and growth going on, and we want to be ahead of it,” he said. “So this is an ideal location to be ahead of the growth curve.”
The warehouse is being built by West Rac Contracting Corp., which will lease the facility long-term to PODS.
Gary Krupnick, president and chief operating officer of West Rac, said the building is expected to be 50,000 square feet and stand about 40 feet tall. The 10-acre parcel has enough space to expand the warehouse by 15,000 to 20,000 square feet if needed.
“We are pleased to welcome these businesses to the Libby Hill business park,” Mayor Patricia Hart said. “This project, along with all of our businesses in the park, are important economic development assets in the city, helping us expand the tax base while providing good jobs.”
The PODS business has two segments, storage and moving.
Knafo said PODS can provide containers for either residential or commercial moves. PODS can provide a referral to partner for labor if needed. Once the container is packed, it can be left on site or taken to a climate-controlled storage facility. Unlike self-storage facilities, PODS can be accessed only by appointment; the system requires an employee to retrieve the pod and bring it to the parking lot to be accessed.
If the container is to be moved, PODS will transport it as well.
The retail rates are about $200 per month for a container, Knafo said, and the moving rates depend on the distance traveled.
Knafo said the company is expected to employ between eight and 14 people in Gardiner. The building will be staffed by a warehouse manager and most likely an assistant warehouse manager, but the bulk of the benefited jobs are for truck drivers.
After Gardiner, the company plans to look at locations west of Portland as an option to expand business in that area.
“We have a lot of containers that in Portland that rightfully belong here,” he said. “We’re trucking them south to be able to house them, but as soon as this site is open, this will be the rightful home until the customer wants it.”
PODS was founded in 1998 in Florida and started to build out its business. In 2015, it was bought by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Knafo said the company doubled in size in the last five years and is on track to double again in the next five years.