Moving and self-storage company buys big-box property


Courtesy U-Haul

A former big-box store in the area is being repurposed.

U-Haul purchased the old Kmart building in Byron Township, at 701 68th St. SW, and will convert it into a showroom and self-storage facility, according to U-Haul last week.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

The company is currently operating out of a temporary showroom, offering rentable trucks and trailers, towing equipment and moving supplies.

"Big-box stores like this can remain vacant and become blight on communities,” said Jonathan Gilmore, president, U-Haul Company of Western Michigan. “Our initiative is to breathe life back into these buildings and invite other businesses to invest in the neighborhood."

U-Haul acquired the 115,440-square-foot stand-alone building in March and will use about 50,000 square feet for indoor self-storage, giving customers access to over 800 climate-controlled rooms with high-tech security features.

The space that isn't converted into self-storage units will serve as a showroom, featuring moving supplies, hitch accessories and more.

The facility should be fully operational by next spring and employ 10 to 15 team members

Sonya Will is the general manager of the location and oversees day-to-day operations.

The acquisition of the ex-Kmart was driven by a U-Haul corporate sustainability initiative, which aims to help local communities lower their carbon footprints.

U-Haul said the “adaptive reuse” of existing buildings reduces the amount of energy and resources required for new-building materials and helps cities reduce their “unwanted inventory of unused buildings.”

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