About Self Storage Zone (SSZ)

Self Storage Zone (“SSZ”) is a developer and operator of Self Storage Facilities through the key personnel of Diane Tipton, Andrew Czekaj and Stephen Garchik. To date, the Principals of SSZ have developed, under construction, acquired and managed over 5,500,000 gross square feet of space in 47 self storage projects in the District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. SSZ has the development and management expertise required to oversee the design and construction of a project through the development process as well as during the all important lease-up phase as well as managing the project through stabilization and beyond. Together, this team possesses extensive experience in developing and managing all types of real estate products, but has specialized in self storage facilities since 1995. The principals involved in the venture, have structured and or developed over $3 Billion worth of real estate projects over the last thirty years.

SSZ believes that management is critical to the success of the project beginning with the initial design stages of the project. Self Storage is an operating business, thus we must develop with the flexibility to respond to the specific market in the operation of the business. We have access to the same project performance reports from the same vendors, as do all other storage facilities. However, the difference is that our property management team reviews and analyzes these numbers weekly to determine the what, why and how. Our entire team will review, on a weekly basis, the number of telephone inquiries, the number of visitors, number and type of units rented, the number of square feet rented, the inventory sold, delinquencies and payment history, to determine if we need to make any changes operationally that will make a positive difference in these numbers.

Our pricing structure must be analyzed regularly to determine if it is working and if it is not, must be reevaluated for change. Markets are definitely price sensitive. We look at creating a sense of urgency with the customers to make sure they do not leave our facility without leasing with us. We have a tried and true “plan to close” on our sales that is gospel to our property managers, and it works. We believe that the project leasing is substantially enhanced with having great security at the property, which must be tailor made for each specific site. A resident manager’s apartment is often incorporated into our plans for security purposes as well as an amenity to entice the right project manager to the facility. We also believe that a moving truck with our logo and the property’s address, phone and email address is a strong marketing tool for the property. The truck is a “moving billboard” which advertises our property as people move their belongings or when our employees simply use it to go to the bank or marketing to potential tenants.

Operating a self storage facility is not a static business. It never goes on automatic pilot, even when you reach stabilized occupancy of 85% or 90%. We differentiate ourselves from other operators in this business by constantly reviewing the analytical data from the projects and making changes based upon the changes we see taking place in our market. It doesn’t matter what the industry standard may be or what has worked in the past, we look at what our project and market are telling us they want and make changes to pricing, discount packages, and even reconfigure unit sizes based upon that information. We make frequent surprise “visits” by the owners and head of the management company, periodic audits of the facilities, walk through to check locks and condition of the facilities. We keep up with recent changes and innovations in serving our customers. We try to determine if this is an area that requires additional customer service such as the ability for our office to be used as a shipping center. The Principals of SSZ are never content to pass this analysis on to others but will personally look for other ways to maximize operational results.

For a new development project, Self Storage Zone will formulate and execute the most effective development plan based on current zoning constraints, population characteristics and architectural design options. We will ensure cost savings through value engineering, and analyze market conditions to determine the best overall storage unit mix as well as rent structure based upon market competition. We would look at the related project costs for each alternative to be evaluated and decide the best way to proceed at each stage of the development and operation of the project. We assemble comparable information by researching other self storage projects in the market area of a 3 to 5 mile radius of the project. We determine the best possible mix of unit sizes and rent structure for a steady, rapid absorption of the units. By analyzing the demographics of the project market area, we are able to determine the depth of the residential and commercial storage market as well as to assist in analyzing the appropriate unit mix. We do not ever utter the words “This is how it is done in our industry” as a reason for making a design or operational decision. Each radius market has to be studied as its own small universe to determine what fits best in our projects.

SSZ has benefited from the assemblage of a team of experienced real estate professionals. Self storage today is both a real estate business as well as an operating business. The principals of SSZ have spent their entire professional lives finding the best real estate locations and successfully developing different real estate products on these sites. This expertise has carried over to the self storage industry where it has been proven time and again that the superior sites outperform the mediocre sites in both achieved rent and occupancy. This is SSZ’s business strategy.

The Principals of SSZ


Diane Tipton

Diane Tipton is a founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Self Storage Zone. She has developed self storage facilities in the Washington Metropolitan Region for the past 23 years. Ms. Tipton identifies and secures the sites and with her team, analyzes the project costs, oversees the design, engineering, and operational information to determine the economic feasibility of each of the projects. She oversees the management company for the self storage projects, SSZ Management, LLC, during lease-up and operations. Along with her partners, she has developed, owned and managed over 3,200,000 square feet in 30 self storage projects in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, New York and New Jersey.

Ms. Tipton worked for The Evans Company for 10 years where she was Vice President of Finance and Acquisitions, responsible for structuring debt and equity for the development of large office buildings and negotiated several full building leases with GSA. Before becoming involved in real estate development, Ms. Tipton practiced as a CPA with Reznick, Fedder and Silverman, the precursor to CohnReznick, specializing in taxation, particularly real estate, where she structured real estate acquisitions and syndications as well as performed tax planning for partnerships, corporations and individuals. She also practiced as a CPA in the National Tax office of Ernst and Whinney as well as a general tax accountant at Arthur Andersen at the beginning of her career.

Ms. Tipton graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting as well as a Masters of Tax in Accounting. Ms. Tipton is currently on the Advisory Board of CubeSmart, the 4th largest Self Storage REIT and is on the Boards of numerous Non-Profit organizations. Diane is a 2009 recipient of the "Women Who Mean Business" Award.

Andrew Czekaj

Andrew J. Czekaj

Mr. Czekaj is a co-founder and Chairman of Self Storage Zone, a self-storage platform that developed and acquired in excess of 3.5 million square feet of self-storage facilities valued at more than $500 million in the New York, Washington, DC metro and Florida markets. Currently, Self Storage Zone is developing four new facilities in the Washington, DC metro market. Mr. Czekaj is the Manager and Co-Founder of Cambridge Holdings LLC and its operating subsidiaries with a primary focus on the strategic direction of the company, capital structures and new business opportunities. Mr. Czekaj has an extensive background in commercial real estate including development, project capitalization, asset acquisition/ disposition as well as asset restructures.

Mr. Czekaj has been instrumental in the development, financing, acquisition and structuring of over $7.5 billion of commercial real estate. Mr. Czekaj has structured the development and acquisition of more than 24 million square feet of office and industrial product on behalf of partners and clients. Since 2020, he has spearheaded the effort into logistics and distribution—structuring the acquisition of 10 million square feet of industrial space. The portfolio spans from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic to the Southeast region. In addition, he was instrumental in restructuring a $1 billion-plus commercial and residential portfolio concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic, Southwest and Florida markets.

Mr. Czekaj is an alumni of Rutgers University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He attended The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, then obtained his Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Mr. Czekaj is a member of NAIOP. Mr. Czekaj served for nine years on the Board of Trustees for Rollins College and as a board member of the Stimson Center through 2018. He currently serves on the advisory board of Fly Alliance Aviation Group.

Stephen Garchik

Stephen Garchik

Mr. Garchik has been a real estate developer and owner for 38 years. In that time, he and his partners at The Evans Company and subsequently at SJM Partners Inc. and Self Storage Zone have developed approximately 4,000,000 sq ft of office space, 2,000,000 sq ft of residential properties, 5,000,000 sq ft of self storage projects, 1,200,000 sq ft of retail space and 500,000 sq ft of industrial product. Many of the office projects were headquarters or regional campuses for Fortune 500 tenants or Government Agencies. Retail projects include developing stores for K-mart, Costco, Builders Square, drugstores and four grocery anchored shopping centers. Residential developments include high- rise luxury rental projects in Washington, DC and Baltimore and student housing at the University of Maryland as well as affordable housing units across the US in joint venture with MRK Partners, Inc. Self storage projects developed include 24 properties in the northern New Jersey and New York City metropolitan area, 12 properties in South Florida and 20 properties in the Washington, DC market.

In addition, Mr. Garchik and his associates have master planned over 10 million square feet of mixed use office parks in Northern Virginia, the Maxwell House Coffee 1,200,000 sq foot mixed use development in Hoboken New Jersey, a 605 unit Brickell Avenue high rise complex on Brickell Avenue in Miami and several residential golf course communities.

Mr. Garchik serves on the board of several non-profit institutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science and M.B.A. degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Construction and Management

Team of SSZ

Trey Burke

Mr. Burke is responsible for all of the real estate development at Self Storage Zone. Mr. Burke has over 24 years of experience in construction and development of real estate. In his career he has been involved in all aspects of development with expertise ranging from acquisitions, feasibility, project planning, through construction for millions of square feet of retail, office, multifamily, mixed–use and self storage projects. Mr. Burke joined SJM Partners in 2004 and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Development and Construction. He is also a Partner in many of the real estate projects he is involved with. Mr. Burke is responsible for the planning and execution of the company’s development and redevelopment projects as well as defining and executing capital improvement projects within the SJM portfolio and for Self Storage Zone. He has managed the development and construction of millions of square feet of complex ground up projects as well as renovations of residential, commercial, mixed-use and self storage projects.

Prior to joining SJM Partners, Mr. Burke was a Development Manager for Vornado/Charles E Smith, the Washington DC division of Vornado Realty Trust, where he worked on various phases of planning and project execution for the construction of approximately three million square feet of urban office, retail and multifamily residential space. Additionally, he has previous construction experience from his time at Foulger-Pratt Construction and Harkins Builders where he was responsible for field operations and project management of numerous commercial, residential and mixed-use projects. He holds a B.S. degree from James Madison University.

Michael Bernard

Mr. Bernard is the Director of Operations and is responsible for day to day operations of our locations. He helps perform the due diligence on new site locations as well as in the acquisition of existing self storage facilities. Mr. Bernard is responsible for hiring and training all new managers according to the company policies and procedures. He is responsible for and an expert in the continuous training of managers in facility management procedures, telephone techniques, and operation of their facility. He assists in creating and implements all of the marketing programs in the various locations. He is also responsible for preparing the annual budgets as well as creating and implementing the Policies and Procedures for all of the sites.

Michael started in the self storage industry more than 25 years ago and has worked with Self Storage Zone for the past 17 years. He has worked for several other self storage operators including Storage USA, Storage Deluxe and Storage Post. Michael started as an Assistant Project Manager and worked his way to Area Manager, Division Manager and now Director of Operations. He has managed sites in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Projects Portfolio

Mr. Czekaj, Mr. Garchik, and Ms. Tipton have either acquired, developed or are currently developing the following self storage projects:


SSZ has benefited from the assemblage of a team of experienced real estate professionals. Self storage today is both a real estate business as well as an operating business. The principals of SSZ have spent their whole professional lives finding the best real estate locations and successfully developing different real estate products on these sites. This expertise has carried over to the self storage industry where it has been proven time and again that the superior sites out perform the mediocre sites in both achieved rent and occupancy. This is SSZ’s business strategy.

Suitland Self Storage Zone

4350 Forestville Road

Suitland, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 84,188

Number of Units 982

Dumfries Road Self Storage Zone

10411 Dumfries Road

Manassas, VA

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 73,000

Number of Units 835

Airpark Self Storage Zone

8001 Snouffer School Road

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 85,995

Number of Units 794

St. Mary’s Self Storage Zone

22465 Indian Bridge Road

California, Maryland

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 67525

Number of Units 726

Islandia Self Storage Plus

3016 Expressway Drive

South Islandia, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft– 63, 690

Number of Units 615

Valley Stream Self Storage Plus

270 W. Merrick Road

Valley Stream, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 84,870

Number of Units 918

South Four Mile Run Self Storage Zone

3810 South Four Mile Run

Arlington, Virginia

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 64,275

Number of Units 719

Walker Mill Self Storage Zone

6300 Walker Mill Road

Capitol Heights, Maryland

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 85,275

Number of Units 805

Suffern Storage Post

2 Dunnigan Drive

Suffern, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 79,025

Number of Units 801

Ft. Lee Self Storage Plus

550 Main Street

Ft. Lee, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 101,121

Number of Units 1045

Hasbrouck Heights Self Storage Plus

74 Route 17 North

Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 101,060

Number of Units 1030

River Edge Self Storage Plus

487 Hackensack Avenue

River Edge, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 98,250

Number of Units 1078

Old Bridge Self Storage Plus

1001 Route 9 North

Parlin, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 76,730

Number of Units 439

Tonnelle Self Storage Plus

2025-2027 83rd Street

North Bergen, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 85,275

Number of Units 1077

Clifton Self Storage Plus

1234 Route 46

Clifton, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 105,450

Number of Units 1031

Jersey City Storage Post

191 Broadway

Jersey City, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 76,670

Number of Units 984

Webster Storage Post

4077 Park Avenue

Bronx, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft– 47,520

Number of Units 735

Linden Storage Post

401 South Park Avenue

Linden, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 75,620

Number of Units 791

Maple Shade Storage Post

588 Route 38 East

Maple Shade, New Jersey

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 85,340

Number of Units 854

Ridgewood Storage Post

4805 Metropolitan Avenue

Queens, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 80,600

Number of Units 1,212

Travis Avenue Self Storage Zone

300 Old Game Preserve Road

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 75,050

Number of Units 863

Long Island City Storage Post

30-28 Starr Avenue

Long Island City, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 177,115

Number of Units 2,512

Yonkers Storage Post

131 Sawmill River Road

Yonkers, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 100,629

Number of Units 1,625

North Port Storage Zone

12560 Tamiami Trail South

North Port, Florida

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 45,000

Number of Units 485

Fordham Storage Post

301 Fordham Road

Bronx, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 47,340

Number of Units 721

South Setauket Storage Post

380 Mark Tree Road

South Setauket, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 92,770

Number of Units 932

Lawrence Storage Post

640 Rockaway Turnpike

Lawrence, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 98,950

Number of Units 1,279

Alexandria Ferry Self Storage Zone

7805 Old Alexandria Ferry Rd

Clinton, Maryland

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 83,500

Number of Units 772

New Rochelle Storage Post

363 Huguenot Street

New Rochelle, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 41,908

Number of Units 695

Bruckner Storage Post

112 Bruckner Boulevard

Bronx, New York

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 92,260

Number of Units 1,729

Powers Drive Storage Zone

2650 North Powers Drive

Orlando, Florida

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 62,763

Number of Units

Stadium Self Storage

501 NW Peacock Boulevard

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 72,597

Number of Units 560

Market Place Self Storage

459 Market Place

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 33,545

Number of Units 243

Beech Road Self Storage Zone

5335 Beech Rd

Temple Hills, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 84,373

Number of Units 1,080

Taylor Street Self Storage Zone

645 Taylor Street, NE

Washington, DC

Net Rentable Sq Ft –78,580

Number of Units 1,040

Annapolis Road Self Storage Zone

9641 Annapolis Road

Lanham, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 88,900

Number of Units 972

Eisenhower Avenue Self Storage

4650 Eisenhower Avenue

Alexandria, VA

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 113,732

Number of Units 1,015

Timonium Self Storage

16 W Aylesbury Road

Timonium, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 67,171

Number of Units 670

Princeton Woods Self Storage Zone

17058 Jefferson Davis Highway

Jessup, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 70,450

Number of Units 929

Brooks Drive Self Storage Zone

2121 Brooks Drive

District Heights, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 98,416

Number of Units 1,174

Orlando Stor-All

11583 University Boulevard

Orlando, Florida

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 72,025

Number of Units 683

Ritchie Station Self Storage Zone

Ritchie Station Road

Upper Marlboro, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft –78,500

Number of Units 942

New York Avenue Self Storage Zone

1850 New York Avenue, NE

Washington, DC

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 112,775

Number of Units 1,381

Chinquapin Round Road SSZ

1833 George Ave

Annapolis, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 73,875

Number of Units 889

Annapolis Self Storage

Trout Road

Annapolis, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 56,590

Number of Units 556

Guilford Road Self Storage Zone

10305 Guilford Road

Jessup, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 84,105

Number of Units 1,013

Blue Water Self Storage Zone

2303 Blue Water Boulevard

Odenton, MD

Net Rentable Sq Ft – 91,675

Number of Units 1,079