This post was authored by Curbed contributor MJ Galbraith.
U-Haul has purchased New Center's NBC Building and boy howdy are they excited about it. The moving equipment rental company has bought 283,000 square feet of storage space at 899 W. Baltimore, placing their bets that the neighborhood and its surrounding areas are set to see an influx of residents moving in and in need of those iconic trailers, trucks, and vans. To coincide with the purchase, the Phoenix, Arizona-based company is creating quite the fuss over its Detroit location with a dedicated Facebook page, Twitter hashtag campaign (#MovingDetroit), YouTube channel, and a Detroit-centric blog that rivals even the rah-rah cheerleading of Dan Gilbert and company. A quote from U-Haul International CEO Joe Shoen includes this tasty little nugget: "We will provide a safe, acceptable refuge for urban pioneers as they reenter and secure their new residences and businesses in the area."
While some of U-Haul's language seems a little more post-apocalyptic than we may be comfortable with (thanks for the refuge there, buddy), we do have to hand it to the U-Haul gang for investing in and securing such a large historic building. The company says that besides helping people move their bookshelves and Barcaloungers from their parents' basements to their first apartments and back again, U-Haul has been focused on the revitalization and re-utilization of historic buildings across North America since the 1970s. Their blog cites successes in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Tampa Bay. Of course, for a company that rents moving equipment and a building that will act as a storage center, that location nestled in the crook of a railway and the Lodge is pretty great, too.
The building itself is nearly 100 years old, designed by architect Albert G. Zimmerman back in 1920. It's important to note that the NBC Building isn't associated with that NBC, but with Nabisco--NaBisCo being the National Biscuit Company, or NBC. Those cookies and crackers sure would come in handy for refuge seekers. Details are just now leaking out, but for now, look for equipment rental sometime before winter and storage sometime soon after that.