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U-Haul Acquires 13 Kmart, Sears Stores for Self-Storage, Truck-Rental Conversions

Update 2/6/19 – U-Haul has closed on its acquisitions of former Kmart properties in Springfield and Queensbury. Both self-storage conversion projects are expected to begin shortly.

The Clear Lake Road site was the last remaining Kmart operating in Springfield, according to a source. U-Haul acquired the 12-acre property for $5.5 million. The location will be U-Haul’s third in the city.

Prior to completion, U-Haul Moving & Storage of Springfield will offer moving supplies out of a temporary showroom. Once finished, the facility will offer climate-controlled units, truck and trailer sharing, hitch installation, U-Box portable-storage containers, and propane sales. The site will also have a re-use center for gently used household furnishings for the community to share, according to a press release.

"Springfield is a developing community, and U-Haul is excited to continue to be part of the city's growth," said Aaron Freeman, president of U-Haul Co. of Illinois. "We want to continue to improve quality of life in Springfield through residential mobility and by meeting the growing need for a high-quality storage product."

U-Haul acquired the Dix Avenue site in Queensbury for $7.1 million through affiliate AREC 34 LLC, a source reported. The former Kmart, built in 1993, comprises 176,238 square feet. The property was assessed at $4.9 million.


12/4/18 – Phoenix-based U-Haul International Inc., which operates more than 1,500 self-storage facilities across North America, is in the process of acquiring 13 former Kmart and Sears retail locations it intends to convert to self-storage and truck-rental facilities. Through affiliate AMERCO Real Estate Co., the company will spend $62 million on 12 Kmart properties in 10 states and a single Sears store in Fairbanks, Alaska, according to the source.

The Kmart properties are:

  • 20777 Bear Valley Road, Apple Valley, Calif.
  • 2875 Santa Maria Way, Santa Maria, Calif.
  • 200 Irwin Ave., Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
  • 5909 E. State St., Rockford, Ill.
  • 3250 Clear Lake Road, Springfield, Ill.
  • 17850 Frazho Road, Roseville, Mich.
  • 1705 S. Main St., Roswell, N.M.
  • 308 Dix Ave., Queensbury, N.Y.
  • 996 W. View Park Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1805 E. Stone Drive, Kingsport, Tenn.
  • 4110 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane, Wash.
  • 1309 N. High St., Fort Atkinson, Wis.

The move is in line with U-Haul’s corporate “adaptive reuse” policy to repurpose vacant commercial buildings. The company has converted or is in the process of transforming several properties in multiple states, including several Kmarts and a former JCPenney store. It has nine other former Kmart projects in the works, the source reported.

It’s not clear if U-Haul will go after Sears properties with the same aggression. The retailer filed for bankruptcy protection in October and plans to sell 505 stores, according to “Fortune” magazine.

U-Haul parent company AMERCO continues to have a healthy outlook on self-storage, with CEO Joe Schoen characterizing the industry’s long-term prospects as “good,” during its third-quarter earnings call with financial analysts. “In self-storage, I continue to believe that a still-increasing number of new entrants into this market will result in some unpleasantness in some specific markets in the not-too-distant future,” Schoen said. “I’m not clairvoyant. I can’t tell you for a fact where, but all the signs are there.”

Established in 1945, U-Haul owns more than 32 million square feet of storage space. The company’s corporate sustainability initiatives, which support infill development to help local communities lower their carbon footprint, has led to dozens of conversion projects in recent years.

Sources:
PR Newswire, Growing Springfield: Self-Storage, Jobs Arrive with U-Haul Store
The State Journal-Register, Springfield’s Last Kmart Closes, to Be Replaced by U-Haul
The Post-Star, U-Haul Buys Queensbury Kmart Site for $7.1 million
SpareFoot Storage Beat, U-Haul Scoops Up 13 Kmart and Sears Stores for $62 Million
Fortune, Sears Survived Black Friday But Plans to Sell 505 Stores, Report Says

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