New U-Haul space

Clarke Distributors on Winchester Street in Keene will become U-Haul Moving and Storage of South Keene.

U-Haul has announced it will open a full-service moving and self-storage facility in a former beverage distribution center on Winchester Street in Keene.

Late last month, U-Haul acquired the 34,304-square-foot building at 472 Winchester St., previously the home of Clarke Distributors, according to a Wednesday news release from U-Haul. City records list the sale price for the property as $1.65 million.

The facility, which will be known as U-Haul Moving and Storage of South Keene, will offer truck and trailer sharing, indoor climate-controlled storage units, portable storage containers, towing equipment and more.

The site will also include a retail showroom featuring hitch accessories, specialty boxes, propane tanks, bike racks and other moving supplies.

“Our goal is to provide the community with residential mobility and a clean, secure facility for storing their belongings,” said Jerry Ouellette, U-Haul Company of Western Massachusetts and Vermont president, in the release. “This is a convenient and accessible location for our neighbors in and around Keene. We’re eager to get to work on this reuse project.”

The main portion of the building, a 30,172-square-foot space, was originally constructed in the mid-1960s, with several additions made over the years, including a small maintenance building that was added in 1975.

In 2017, two former Clarke Distributors owners, Jay and Richard Clarke, announced they had partnered with Wormtown Brewery of Worcester, Mass., to open a new brewery and tap room in the space. The business was expected to open to the public in 2018, but the project fell through.

According to Wednesday’s release, Ouellette plans to hire 15 people to staff the new facility. U-Haul will look to hire from within the Keene community, and veterans will be prioritized in the hiring process, the company said.

“More people are moving to Keene every day and our expansion is fundamental,” Ouellette said in the release. “Growing populations equate to more self-move and self-storage needs. And as a college town, Keene is always fluctuating and busy.”

While the new facility is being prepared, other area U-Haul locations remain open, including U-Haul Moving and Storage of Keene at 199 Marlboro St. The Marlboro Street facility will not be affected by the new business opening, spokeswoman Andrea Batchelor said.

Mia Summerson can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or msummerson@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter

@MiaSummerson