The race is on.
About 2,000 RV owners have been notified by Flying Bull RV Storage in Irvine, CA that they must vacate the property by Jan. 31, triggering a rush to find available storage space in the area.
The city, which owns the land, is ending a month-to-month lease arrangement with Flying Bull to make room for the completion of the Great Park, a large residential and commercial development, said city spokesman Craig Reem.
The closure is expected to worsen the current shortage of RV storage spaces in Orange County.
“This is going to be a crisis for RV owners,” said Ted Deits, owner of the Eucalyptus at Beaumont RV Storage Condominiums in neighboring Riverside County.
Deits said because of the severe shortage of RV storage space in the region, the closure of Flying Bull will likely trigger a spike in storage costs.
Finding space for the more than 2,000 RVs that are leaving Flying Bull is like trying to relocate a small city, Deits said. With land costs in Orange County rising, it’s unlikely that anyone will open new facilities to accommodate the evicted tenants. As suburban land is developed, fewer suitable locations for RV storage are available.
High land costs
Deits predicted that RV storage businesses will be pushed farther and farther away from urban areas, because of rising land costs.
“You just can’t put RV storage on land that expensive,” he said. “It is not the highest and best use. They (RV owners) are going to have to go elsewhere, outside of Orange County, to find suitable storage. Many Orange County facilities are of course raising their prices…Land is booming right now.”
Emptying the lot
Flying Bull was one of the largest RV storage areas in the region. About 600 RVs had left as of Oct. 6, according to city spokesman Reem. Less than 1,400 remain.
“In terms of a why a decision is being made, it has always been an interim use, long understood that the RV site would close when development ramped up,” Reem said. “We are in that stage.”
The closure of the Flying Bull facility to make room for the Great Park was long anticipated. The Great Park is a mixed-use development that will include homes, commercial development, and a sprawling park that will be larger than Central Park in New York City. The development is being built on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
Message to customers
In the message to their customers, the operators of Flying Bull RV Storage said they were working to find new locations to re-establish operations. They don’t expect to find enough capacity to accommodate all of their tenants, however.
“Out of concern for the local residents and the challenges of this task, the city is allowing several months for us to draw down occupancy in phases to meet the city’s mandated deadline of being completely vacated by January 31, 2016,” customers were told.
Flying Bull co-owner and spokesman Kevin Ingley couldn’t be reached for comment. In an Oct. 7 article in the Orange County Register newspaper, Ingley said the departure of tenants from his business was increasing demand for RV storage space in Orange County.
Natolie Ochi, vice president of SKS Management, which runs self-storage facilities in California and Hawaii, is familiar with the shortage of RV space in Orange County.
“There aren’t a whole bunch of RV storage places around there,” she said. “I think prices are going to go up, of course.”
People who now rent space at the Flying Bull facility likely will be forced to seek storage space farther east, away from urban centers and residential areas, she said. Some frustrated RV owners may choose to sell rather than move them so far from home.
“At that point is it really worth storing?” she asked.