136: Developing Self Storage, with Drew Dolan

Welcome to the Managing CRE Risk podcast with Jeremy Goodrich. Our guest today is Drew Dolan, a real estate investor with over 20 years of experience in self-storage. In our conversation, we talk about how to limit your risk in development projects, the best ways to get into self-storage, and the future of this asset class. Drew also shares his best practices that will make you a better CRE investor! Don’t miss out on this episode!

Learn more about Drew and his story at shineinsurance.com/managing-commercial-real-estate-risk!

“Although you might make mistakes, when you keep showing up, you’re going to learn something.”


Drew studied engineering and started working in sales when he was 23 years old. In 5 years, he met a lot of developers and realized that that’s what he wanted to do.

Although it took him a long time to learn the industry and build relationships, after 20 years he now has a very extensive network in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“If you always protect your downside, the upside takes care of itself.“


Drew shares his best piece of advice on how to limit risk in development projects.

  • Create sections of the work that you’re doing and focus on one section at a time.
  • Have a solid strategy that you stick to but constantly reassess.
  • Have someone on your team who looks at deals from a different perspective and plays devil’s advocate. 

Drew talks about the ways to get into self-storage. 

  • You can buy a value add. In the last few years, the performance of self-storage went up significantly so the value add prices are very high and the returns are low. 
  • You can build self-storage units. Self-storage has one of the lowest cost of capital development but you really have to understand the market.

In the future, one of the biggest opportunities in self-storage is the influx of people investing in real estate. The biggest risk is that the market is changing very fast and money isn’t cheap anymore.

About our guest, Drew Dolan

Over his 20-year career in development and construction, Drew has focused on structuring real estate investments, joint ventures, and capital management. Previously he was President of Titan Development where he managed Titan’s self-storage and multifamily divisions. In 2017, Drew helped launched Titan Development Real Estate Fund I a $112 million fully-discretionary fund focused on ground-up development. He served as Co-Fund Manager until 2019 when he became Fund Manager. Drew is currently a member of YPO, active on his ULI Council, and was formerly on NAIOP’s national board. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University. 

Mentioned in the show:

  1. https://dxd.capital/
  2. His LinkedIn
  3. Shineinsurance.com
  4. www.shineinsurance.com/managing-commercial-real-estate-risk
  5. Jeremy’s LinkedIn

Need an instant insurance ballpark for your next Multifamily deal?! Answer 9 simple questions and we’ll give you a sense of what insurance should be. Visit us here for everything you need to know: https://www.shineinsurance.com/ballpark/ 

Special thanks to Drew Dolan for taking the time to share so many great insights with us

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Until the next time, We truly appreciate you listening.

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