Phoenix-based U-Haul International Inc., which operates more than 1,300 self-storage locations across North America, is converting a former Kmart store in Lancaster, Calif., and a factory in Erie, Pa., to self-storage. Both projects are a part of the company’s corporate sustainability initiatives, which support infill development to help local communities lower their carbon footprint.
U-Haul purchased the shuttered Kmart at 1810 W. Avenue J for $5.2 million. It’ll be the company’s second location in the Antelope Valley community. The plans include transforming the existing 110,000-square-foot building to 80,000 square feet of storage space. U-Haul will also use a portion of the 9.28-acre site for truck rentals.
The transaction was brokered by John Battle, principal with Lee & Associates, a commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm. “We had a lot of inquiries for this property, but the highest and best use was self-storage and we proceeded with that strategy,” he said, noting the property had been on the market for two years and wasn’t priced correctly. “Once we dropped the listing price, we received inquiries from healthcare users, retail developers and automotive users.”
The seller, a family trust, had owned the building since 1970. Kmart closed the location about five years ago.
U-Haul recently opened another conversion project in the former Skinner Engine factory at 337 W. 12th St. U-Haul Moving & Storage of Downtown Erie offers truck and trailer rentals, towing equipment, and moving and packing supplies. U-Haul plans to construct more than 600 self-storage units inside the building over the next year. Hitch installation, propane sales and U-Box portable storage will also be added.
“This building is a piece of Erie history,” Ean Livingood, president of the U-Haul Co. of Northwestern PA, said of the 1930s building. “I'm excited to be part of this downtown revitalization. The Skinner Engine factory has been a symbol for generations and to tear it down would have been a shame. We want to maintain the character of the building and merge it with the U-Haul services that our neighbors need.”
Earlier this month, U-Haul also acquired the former Boeing airline customer-support offices in Tukwila, Wash., which it plans to convert to self-storage. The 12.89-acre property at 2925 S. 112th St. features a pair of five-story towers. U-Haul Moving & Storage of Duwamish is currently operating out of a temporary showroom, offering truck and trailer rentals, moving and packing supplies, towing equipment, and more.
Once the 323,758-square-foot space is renovated, it’ll contain 3,800 storage units, some of which will be climate-controlled. Additional services will include U-Box portable-storage containers and a U-Haul Re-Use Center for gently used household goods and materials.
“This location will help us bring truck-sharing and self-storage to the community of Tukwila and nearby SeaTac, Burien, South Park, Allentown, Glendale and Riverton-Boulevard Park,” said Kim Merow, president of the U-Haul Co. of South Seattle. “We are excited to be in this area and serve our customers more effectively and sustainably.”
Established in 1945, U-Haul owns more than 51 million square feet of storage space at owned and managed facilities in North America.
PR Newswire, Adaptive Reuse: U-Haul Reveals Plans for Erie's Skinner Engine Factory
PR Newswire, U-Haul to Offer 3,800 Self-Storage Rooms at Former Boeing Offices