Phoenix-based U-Haul International Inc., which operates nearly 1,000 self-storage locations across North America, has opened a new facility in Urbana, Ill., that it converted from the former Southgate Shopping Center. The property at 2010 S. Philo Road officially opened in July 2016, offering truck and trailer rentals, U-Box portable-storage containers, and moving and packing supplies. The renovated structure now offers 55,711 square feet of storage space in more than 600 units.
The company hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 17, noon to 2 p.m., that included property tours, refreshments and prizes.
"This building was becoming an eyesore, and we are excited to reveal the hard work we put into revitalizing it," said Aaron Freeman, president of the U-Haul Co. of Illinois. "We are introducing our top-of-the-line self-storage facility and our new U-Haul Track Share 24/7 self-service options. Our neighbors in Urbana have longed for an easy, online experience and we are happy to provide that."
U-Haul has other conversion projects under development in several states. Like the Urbana facility, the projects are driven by the company’s corporate sustainability initiatives, which support infill development to help local communities lower their carbon footprint, according to a press release. U-Haul’s adaptive reuse of existing structures eliminates the amount of energy and resources required for new-construction materials and helps local cities diminish their unwanted inventory of unused buildings, company officials said.
"Our sustainability mission speaks volumes," Freeman said. "This is the air that our children and grandchildren will be breathing, so it's important to protect it. I'm so proud of what we were able to do with this conversion. Seeing the building transformed from an outdated, dilapidated state to a modern facility is inspiring. We can't wait to serve Urbana for years to come."
Established in 1945, U-Haul owns more than 28 million square feet of storage space.