Wednesday, Aug 15, 2018
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U-Haul parent company completes purchase of Willis Day building

U-Haul’s parent company has completed its purchase of the Willis Day building for conversion into the area's first urban self-storage facility.

AMERCO bought the 96,000-square-foot warehouse at 801 Washington St., in the Warehouse District near downtown Toledo, for $1.75 million, according to Lucas County land records.

Bill Rains, U-Haul’s district vice president for the Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana area, said plans call for converting five of the 94-year-old building’s six floors into possibly as many as 500 self-storage units.

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U-Haul's parent company has completed its purchase of the Willis Day building.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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The facility, which has a parking lot accessible from Ontario Street, will house a retail service on the ground level where customers may buy moving supplies and rent trucks, vans, and trailers, he added.

"I hope to have the first floor completed and open for service in about six to eight months and have the remaining construction done in six to eight months after that," Mr. Rains said.

The building has been vacant since 2000, when employees of its tenant, Xerox Corp. relocated to a downtown building. An unidentified group of investors bought the building in July, 2013, for $1,030,000.

ProMedica proposed renovating the property in 2016 to house a business incubator for upstart tech firms, but it withdrew its purchase offer after deciding its redevelopment would be too costly.

Mr. Rains said he anticipates the company will need to spend $3 million to $4 million on the building’s redevelopment and conversion into self-storage units.

With its planned location, U-Haul is targeting the emerging self-storage niche that's riding demographic trends such as aging baby boomers downsizing and millennials and others moving into smaller dwellings near city centers.

Mr. Rains said the increase in the number of rental apartments and condos in the area and future plans to renovate old buildings can support demand for self-storage units and the need for vehicles to move household goods.

"We are trying to fit into the Warehouse District and with that we want to cater to what the downtown customer is looking for more than anything," Mr. Rains said.

The parking lot will be used for storage of pickup trucks, 10-foot box trucks, trailers, and vans that will be available for rent, the company said.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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