Lansing, Michigan residents support U-Haul’s repurposing and green revitalization of abandoned Kmart, saving it from demolition

On August 21, 2020, neighborhood residents in Lansing, Michigan took the rather unusual step of holding a press conference to voice their support for U-Haul’s reuse repurposing and renewal of an abandoned local Kmart store that has sat empty, devitalizing their neighborhood for some four years.

Adaptive reuse plans for the 119,791-square-foot building include about 800 indoor self-storage units, giving customers access to a variety of climate-controlled storage rooms with high-tech security features at affordable price points.

We don’t want this building to become blight on South Lansing, and we have added much-needed green space to the property,” said Jon Gilmore, U-Haul Company of Western Michigan president earlier this year, when the project was first announced said.

Big-box stores offer a unique opportunity for U-Haul. We take these buildings, which are often vacant for years, and transform them into moving and self-storage facilities that revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods and business community. Approximately 70% of our existing facilities are the result of adaptive reuse,” he added.

By repurposing the former Kmart building, U-Haul would:

  • prevent the use of approximately 938 tons of metal manufacturing and transportation (the amount of steel used to make 945 passenger cars);
  • avoid 6,008 tons of new concrete pours (enough to create 121 miles of concrete blocks);
  • keep 10,727 tons of building and demolition debris out of landfills (avoiding 413 dump trucks traveling 8,664 miles); and
  • stop 6,235,598 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere (the carbon emissions of 479 large SUVs or pickup trucks for one year).

One of many ecofriendly site features will be a bike path connector and bike rest area where riders can utilize free tools and benches to service their cycles.

U-Haul has been repurposing buildings for decades, and we are eager to bring our sustainable practice to Lansing,” stated Gilmore. “We have been working closely with the Lansing City Council and our neighbors to develop a site plan that’s best for everyone.

U-Haul Storage at Jolly & Cedar will be managed by the longstanding U-Haul facility at 5020 S. Cedar. The new project will also offer customers a U-Haul Reuse Center, which is a redistribution area where gently used household items, furniture, sporting equipment, bikes and clothing can be donated and shared amongst the community.

Pursuit of this property is driven by U-Haul Corporate Sustainability initiatives: U-Haul supports infill developments to help local communities lower their carbon footprint. 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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