“This Place Is Coming Together” 02-12-13

What a difference a week makes. We reached a crescendo of activity this past week at the U-Haul Nabisco building that, as Joseph Tangari, our Wayne State revitalization research assistant said, “…feels like this place is coming together…like it’s getting ready.”

Northern lights

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit elevator_looby

No, we’re not talking about the lounge down the street, we’re referring to the lights in the north elevator lobby! We’ve also repaired the boarded-up and broken windows,  transforming a dark and dreary interior space, into one infused with light and air.

We’ve also started building the lobby restroom. Electricity has been installed and the plumbers are routing the plumbing from the lobby to the basement. This week we’ll call the city in for a rough inspection of the electrical.

We’re going to hold off imaging the elevator until we’ve finished moving steel and other construction materials to the upper floors.

Showroom beauts

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit showroom_ADA_bathrooms

I’ve been writing about the showroom restroom for sometime now, but haven’t shown you many photos. Well, the doors have been hung, the painting is finished, the plumbing is installed and working, and the ceramic tile is in place. I don’t know if a restroom can be called art, but this one is a beaut.

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit manager_office (1)

The manager’s office, which is at the top of the platform is taking shape too. The electric has been installed and the office doors have been restored to “like new” condition. Of particular pride are the hinges and door fixtures. They were in pretty bad shape. But with some TLC and some rust remover, they look fantastic.

Moving out into the showroom, we’ve prepainted the conduit, fittings, boxes and hardware black. This will save us a lot of time (and money) as installation moves forward.

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit showroom_entrance

The HVAC plans have been approved and we will be installing the ductwork this week. Core drilling of the roof requires coordination between the roofer and HVAC  installer. They’ve set an ambitious deadline of February 15 for completion.

The new showroom entrance is more than just a “pretty face.” With the radiant floor, the room is a lot warmer now – no more drafts from a boarded-up hole in the wall.

Picking up the pace

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit 3rd_floor_storage (2)

CEO Joe Shoen came to inspect a week ago and wanted a nicer look to the painted surfaces on the third floor. So, the ceiling, wall and columns got a new coat of high-gloss paint. Construction on the first two rows of self-storage rooms moved along slowly…as expected…because we had to cut around the columns. The pace will pick up once we’re off the second row because we’ll be building larger rooms and won’t have to deal with columns. All of the old lighting has been removed and we’re hanging the new lighting as we go along.

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit 3rd_floor_storage (3)

There’s a restroom in one of the third-floor stairwells, which we need to restore. When we unlocked and opened the door, we found an absolute disaster.

Six months ago, we might have been discouraged, but the crew now knows what they are capable of and no one doubts that its revitalization will turn out great.

Pumped up

U-Haul Nabisco Building Detroit- fuel pump meter installed

It seemed like a long time coming, but the fire pump finally has been repaired. Thanks to the repairs the city did on their street side of the system, the pump tested successfully. Ace Sprinkler is handling the paperwork and feels confident we will get approval from the fire department.

Loading/Unloading area

Now that the ramps have been poured, we’re beginning to put the finishing touches to the loading/unloading area. We’ve installed a sliding-glass door entrance to the elevator lobby area. A card swipe will ensure security for our future self-storage tenants. Scrapping and painting is underway, and installation of the uni struts to hold the lights is pretty much done. Next up will be installation of the electrical circuits and the hanging of the lights

A bit of building history

Coal for the boilers and the ovens was received in bottom-dump cars and dropped directly through large openings in the track into separate bunkers extending under the entire receiving platform. From the bunkers, it was distributed by an electric-driven, monorail traveling hoist with clamshell bucket which also ran into the boiler room and deposited coal once a day in the stoker hoppers. The oven coal was elevated directly to the firing platform on the fifth floor. Enough space was provided in the bunkers to hold a six-month supply of coal.

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, 2/18.


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