“Impossible” is an Opinion, not an Option 01-28-13

Jan 28, 2013

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit 3rd floor - scraped_painted columns-ceiling

From top to bottom, last week was a busy week here at the U-Haul Nabisco building. On the third floor, the scraping and painting of the walls, ceiling and columns was completed, and the baseboard moldings have been installed, caulked and painted. What really got everyone excited was when crews started laying out the self-storage units on the third floor on Wednesday. The work, however, was not without its challenges.

Moving the steel up to the third floor took some doing. In order to get the steel into the freight elevator, we had to maneuver it through a door on the first floor, then around a column that was in front of the door. The problem was that the steel was longer than the width of the door and seemingly too long to maneuver past the column.

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit 3rd floor - steel staging area

Some of the workers delivering the steel were heard to say “impossible,” “no way,” and “never happen.” However, those of us who work for U-Haul have learned that “impossible” is an opinion, not an option. The steel was loaded into the elevator and staged on the third floor as planned.

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit 3rd_floor_storage - first aisle

When layout of the floor began on Wednesday, it quickly became evident that the distance between the wall columns on the floor plan the crew was using didn’t match the reality on the floor. The measurements were off by six inches. Our construction team resolved the problem and by Thursday the crew was moving right along. By the end of the day on Friday, the east- and south-wall rooms were laid out. We expect a lot of progress this week.

Sealing the deal

U-Haul Nabisco Building showroom_windows - upper windows installed

The brick walls in the showroom have been sealed. Brick is hard and dense, but quite porous and easily penetrated by water/oil. However, the amount of porosity varies depending on the particular type of clay, baking methods, etc. Brick sealers and sealants can stop or prevent the growth of mold, make graffiti easier to remove and stop mortar erosion. We went with a water-based acrylic because it offered the best protection and the best look for our situation.

Work started on the upper interior windows. A replacement window, fabricated by our U-Haul shop, was installed but still needs some adjustments to get it to fit correctly. As I noted in earlier posts, the window frames, panes and fixtures are not all uniform.

Upstairs, downstairs, emergency features installed

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit stairwells - automatic emergency lighting

Upstairs and downstairs, electricians finished installing the emergency lighting and exit signs in the stairwells on all four corners of the building and on all floors. The stairwell lighting is on motion sensors and the exit signs have battery backup. If there is a problem, the lights and signs will be on.

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit- fuel pump meter installed

Downstairs, the electric meter for the fire pump was installed and we are one step closer to completion. We’re on standby to test the pump this week. We were scheduled to test it last week, but weather conditions – zero degrees with a windchill factor of minus 15 degrees — prevented the test. We are on a standby list for this week.

U-H-A-U-L Rising

Our AV team created a fun little video about last month’s installation of the iconic U-Haul modular sign. Cut to the “Sunrise” fanfare of Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra” (aka the theme music for Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”), this 90-second video takes you from street level on Baltimore Avenue to exciting aerial footage of the rooftop sign.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCtDFrwqCAc?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

If you missed the post last week, “One Strong Building” is another video the team put together. Enjoy…and stay tuned.

A bit of building history

NBC-Nabisco Building 1920 3rd Floor Icing Area

The icing department was on the third floor. At the south end was a mixing room. Another part of the building was occupied by the icing and deposit machines and the long traveling dryers that removed the proper amount of moisture from the goods to render them ready for packing. A carefully designed air-conditioning system was installed to make it possible to operate the dryers continuously under varying weather conditions. Another portion of the floor was given over to the packing of the iced varieties.

This blog was created to let the community know that U-Haul is in Detroit, and to share our plans with you and to get input from the community. We want to hear from you. Tell us what you like and don’t like about our posts, building plans or anything else you want to share about Detroit. We are excited to be part of the Detroit community and want to learn from you!

Next post, 2/4.

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