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U-Haul to transform former Westland Kmart into storage facility

The southeast corner of Wayne and Cherry Hill roads in Westland is about to go from Blue Light Special to orange trim and shipping boxes.

That’s because the former Kmart building at 165 S. Wayne is set to become a U-Haul Smart Mobility Center, a move unanimously approved by the city council at its Sept. 4 meeting.

“I think this is a very exciting proposal to be able to bring to the council this evening,” said Bruce Thompson, Westland’s director of building and planning. “This is a building that’s been sitting vacant for some time and I think all parties involved know it’s a difficult building to fill. We were lucky enough to have a Fortune 500 company come to us and make a proposal.”

The 108,000-square-foot space will be reduced to about 101,000 square feet and contain climate-controlled storage in the former Kmart building and a retail center in the former auto center closer to Wayne Road. The investment will total nearly $10 million.

In addition, the site will also include vehicle-charging stations, a bike-share station and a car-share station. Including those, Thompson said, help bring the city closer to goals in its master plan.

“All of these are new 21st century components of a modern city,” Thompson said. “From a use standpoint, when you look at the land use, all aspects of this particular use … I think provide some unique benefits that this community just doesn’t have.”

Jeff Stefani, company president for Michigan for U-Haul, said he was looking forward to bringing a new facility to the city.

“I’m looking forward to starting a partnership with the city of Westland,” he said.

Mayor William Wild said the center was a good fit for that part of Westland in the future.

“Filling the Kmart site with their new smart mobility center, I think, is going to be a good addition to the Wayne Road corridor,” he said.

This is not the first former Kmart building U-Haul has moved into in the region. The company moved into the former Kmart on Telegraph Road, south of Eight Mile, in Detroit back in 2016.

With U-Haul coming into the former Kmart that closed in early 2017, that leaves one less former Kmart property vacant. Kmart stores in communities such as Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth Township and Garden City have closed in recent years, though efforts to redevelop them have begun in certain communities, including in Plymouth Township, where a developer is eyeing the site for a new development.


Posted By: Detroit Free Press on September 11, 2018.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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