07 Jun U-Haul Brings New Life to Old Buildings with Self Storage Development
By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
U-Haul continues to grow its self storage portfolio while bringing life back to old vacant buildings. The company recently acquired an old strip mall in Montgomery, Ill., a laser tag arena in North Smithfield, R.I., and what used to be a shoe factory in St. Louis, Mo., and turned them all into self storage facilities.
The building in Montgomery, Ill., was once a 171,653-square-foot Kmart-anchored strip mall that has been sitting empty for two years. The location at 1900 Douglas Rd. became U-Haul Moving & Storage of Montgomery in December 2015. It’s currently only offering truck and trailer rentals but will continue renovations until September 2016. When work is finished, the facility will offer 720 indoor climate-controlled storage units, along with other services like professional hitch installation.
“This location is the gateway to Montgomery and is the first building you see when coming into town,” says Angela Farley, President of U-Haul of Chicago Western Suburbs. “U-Haul has taken a deteriorating, outdated building and is refurbishing it with a pleasing exterior. It will make our community look more welcoming while serving the moving and storage needs of our residents.”
Also, U-Haul acquired an old laser tag arena and arcade in North Smithfield, R.I., back in 2014. The company has since been offering truck and trailer rentals at the 22-acre property. When renovations are complete at U-Haul of North Smithfield at 408 Eddie Dowling Hwy, the facility will offer 667 indoor storage units with heating. The first 88 units are expected to be available by mid to late summer.
“I’m really excited to open a store in this area,” General Manager Tom Sullivan says. “The closest one is in Cumberland, and there are only a couple of U-Haul neighborhood dealers here in North Smithfield. We are excited to meet the needs of these neighborhoods. People come in every day asking when our storage will be open.”
In St. Louis, Mo., KMOX reports that what was once the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Factory, then the Globe Drug warehouse, is now U-Haul Moving & Storage of Downtown St. Louis. The article doesn’t list the specifics of the size of the building at 418 S. Tucker Blvd., or the number of units it offers, but Steve Langford, President of U-Haul Company of St. Louis, said the structure allowed for a smooth transition to self storage.
“It’s close to City Hall, and everybody’s proud of Downtown, but the City of St. Louis has worked well with us, and been very supportive in our efforts appreciating doing something with that building, rather than it just sitting there and for sure not tearing it down,” Langford told KMOX.
The next building on U-Haul’s slate for St. Louis is the old National Candy Company at 4230 Gravois Ave. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, renovation for the 320,000-square-foot, eight-story building is expected to take several years.
All of these acquisitions are a result of U-Haul’s Corporate Sustainability Initiatives. The company supports adaptive reuse of old buildings to help communities reduce their carbon footprint and lower their number of vacant buildings.