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U-Haul plants flag in Detroit at former Nabisco Building in New Center

U-Haul is staking a claim in Detroit by opening an office in one of the city's most visible buildings.

U-Haul bought the former Nabisco Building in New Center, which stands vigil next to the Lodge Freeway just south of West Grand Boulevard. The moving company is renovating the seven-story structure at 899 W. Baltimore St. so it can become a full-service moving and storage center.

"There is a lot of work internally that needs to be done," says Stuart Shoen, executive vice president of U-Haul. "For instance, we need to get water and power throughout the building."

U-Haul expects to have the space ready for truck, trailer and moving supplies by this winter. It has a long-term ambition of turning the entire building into a full-service station that offers both trailer and truck rentals and storage space in the structure's 250,000 square feet. The U-Haul office will employ about 10 people when it opens later this year. That staff has the potential to grow exponentially as it continues to build out the storage portion of the building.

The circa-1920 building was originally built as a bakery for the National Biscuit Co, which is now Nabisco. The building has been vacant for several years before U-Haul purchased it this summer and began renovations. U-Haul is taking on the project with long-term intentions to take advantage of the burgeoning growth in the greater downtown Detroit area.

"We know that we're going to be there for a long time," Shoen says. "We want to fulfill our obligation to the community."

Source: Stuart Shoen, executive vice president of U-Haul International
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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