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U-Haul plans takeover of Stone Drive Kmart

Hank Hayes • Dec 5, 2018 at 5:30 PM

KINGSPORT — U-Haul International announced Wednesday it is looking to acquire 13 Sears and Kmart properties, including the Stone Drive Kmart in Kingsport.

AMERCO Real Estate, the real estate arm of U-Haul International, often acquires and repurposes existing properties — many of them big-box stores — through the implementation of its adaptive reuse program.

“It has been a pleasure working with the Sears real estate and legal teams to get to this point. We look forward to continue working with them in hopes of getting approval from the bankruptcy court for this transaction,” Sebastien Reyes, vice president of communications for U-Haul International, said in an email. “AMERCO Real Estate invests in various property types of all sizes throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

Sears, which owns Kmart, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

U-Haul, based in Phoenix, Arizona, noted that when it reuses an existing property for a new full-service U-Haul store, these facilities typically offer indoor climate-controlled self-storage, truck and trailer sharing (a.k.a. rentals), a retail showroom with moving supplies/boxes/hitch accessories, U-Box portable storage containers, a U-Box storage warehouse, a hitch bay for installations, propane, and a U-Haul Re-Use Center for the community to share used boxes and household furnishings.

These conversions, which are often of closed or vacated stores, cut down on landfill waste generated from building tear-downs, preserve natural resources, eliminate the carbon emissions from new construction and help remove unwanted blight from communities, according to U-Haul.

It is unclear when the existing Kmart Stone Drive will close and be redeveloped by U-Haul.

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