U-Haul to create Maui home base in old Kmart building

Facility will rent vehicles, provide space for storage

U-Haul Moving & Storage has moved into the old Kmart building in Kahului, where the national company’s first Maui truck and trailer rental and self-storage facility will be constructed.

U-Haul announced Thursday that it purchased the 107,520 square foot building on 7.3 acres at the corner of Hana Highway and Dairy Road on Oct. 17. Kmart, which opened 24 years ago at that location, was shut down June 18 by financially troubled Sears Holdings Corporation.

The seller was 424 Dairy Road LLC, a company of Hendricks Commercial Properties of Beloit, Wis., according to state business and county property tax records. The terms of the sale were not disclosed in the U-Haul news release. The county assessed the property at $23.8 million.

Attempts to reach U-Haul officials Friday were unsuccessful.

U-Haul said that it will be turning the building into more than 1,000 indoor climate-controlled self-storage units with high tech security features and U-Haul Remote 24/7 access, which allows for self-pickup and return of U-Haul trucks by smartphone at any hour.

There also will be professional hitch installation, propane sales and boat storage, U-Haul said. The news release did not provide a time frame or cost for the project.

U-Haul currently is offering truck and trailer rental and moving supplies out of a temporary showroom in the old Kmart building.

The facility will employ more than 10 people, U-Haul said.

“We are excited that we finally have a U-Haul-owned location on Maui,” said Kaleo Alau, U-Haul Company of Hawaii president, in the news release. “The Kahului community is bursting at the seams. Residents are having a hard time finding available self-storage for their belongings.”

The purchase was driven by U-Haul’s corporate sustainability initiatives, which support infill developments, the news release said.

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

By reusing and adapting the Kmart site, U-Haul said it prevented the use of 360 tons of metal manufacturing and transportation and kept 6,237 tons of construction and demolition debris out of the landfill.

“This is a very large property and people were worried it would become an eyesore,” Alau said. “It has served as the meeting place for many community-related benefits, including the farmer’s market and carwashes. We hope to continue that tradition. We want our store to be the glue that holds this community together.”

U-Haul has more than 21,000 locations in 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, the news release said.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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