We typically don’t pay much attention to self-storage places. Their invisibility is compounded by locations in out-of-the-way commercial zones. Though many of us have occasion to rent a space from time to time—perhaps for temporary storage of household goods—for the most part they go ignored. Aside from the frenzy displayed by those rabid resellers who bid on the contents of foreclosed units on the TV reality series “Storage Wars,” they’re frankly not very exciting.
But what if your collection of exotic cars, motorcycles or automotive memorabilia outgrows your garage—or your wife’s tolerance for clutter? What if you amassed such a huge wine collection that the sheer number of cases was overwhelming your cellar? What if you would like to have a cool place you can go to indulge your hobbies and hang out with others who share your passion?
A run-of-the-mill, plain-Jane storage place just won’t do. Luckily, there’s Monterey Hi-Way Self Storage. Opened in 1997 by architect and builder Sebastian Bordonaro and a business partner, Hi-Way has recently expanded to include specialized storage solutions specifically designed for motorsports and wine. It’s a family affair: “This is my dad’s dream,” says Sebastian’s son Marc, who co-manages the business with his brother Cal.
The business was built in three phases: I and II comprise 110,000 square feet of conventional self-storage units in a wide range of configurations from closet- to garage-sized. Phase III is where it gets interesting. “We recently completed a 60,000-square-foot expansion,” Bordonaro says. “40,000 for cars; 20,000 are climate controlled for wine storage.”
One of Phase III’s first tenants was Gordon McCall of McCall Events, Inc., among the nation’s premier presenters of VIP motorsports events. He’s also an avid collector of vintage motorcycles and automobiles. McCall helped the Bordonaros with the design and concept of the project. “I’ve been an airport tenant for more than 30 years,” he says. Indeed, one of the most sought-after tickets of the events surrounding the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is the Wednesday night Motorworks Revival, a luxury event held at the Monterey Jet Center. “This is a perfect fit for us,” McCall says. “The convenience of the location is impossible to beat.” That means that clients and visitors can land virtually at McCall’s doorstep.
Though McCall uses his extensively customized space for both personal and business uses, Bordonaro sees the typical tenant as someone whose collection has outgrown their home garages. Spaces can be tailored to any taste and can combine display space with “man-cave” amenities—as one might assume, this is a predominantly male environment. “It’s a guy thing,” says McCall. “None of us can put this stuff on our walls at home. I’m in my own little world here.”
The wine side of the business is probably closest to this Sicilian family’s heart. “My dad makes a couple of barrels a year for fun,” Marc says. Individual storage lockers serve private collectors; warehouse-sized units can accommodate the bottled output of an entire winery. Packaging and shipping services are also available, from individual bottles to pallets.
Surf N Sand Liquors owner Ryan Sanchez ships several hundred cases of wine worldwide every year. “It’s opened my eyes to the possibilities,” he says. “Having a facility like that will help us grow our business.” But it’s not all business. Grotto di Vino (as the wine storage portion of the business is known) offers a comfortable lounge where tenants can relax, sip their vintages and share wine lore with other oenophiles. There’s an expansive deck for events—even a bocce ball court. These are expensive hobbies, and owners of rare automobiles and exclusive vintages want to know that their prized possessions are protected.
“Being right next to the airport, this is one of the safest places on the Peninsula,” states Bordonaro. “What’s really big in my eyes is the security,” adds McCall. “It’s very high. Alarmed, gated, overnight guards.”
Monterey Hi-Way Self Storage is, at heart, a unique business idea from a well-known family with deep Monterey Peninsula roots. “They’re a great family,” Ryan Sanchez says. “I’m glad to see this has come about. It’s a very creative concept.”
More details on storage spaces are available at www.montereyhiwaystorage.com.