U-HAUL Conference and Fitness Center

Phoenix, Arizona

Award of Merit, Sports/Entertainment

Submitted By: CHASSE Building Team

Owner: U-Haul International

Lead Design Firm: Carhuff + Cueva Architects LLC

General Contractor: CHASSE Building Team

Civil: 3 Engineering

Structural: A.V. Schwan & Associates

MEP: ASEI Engineering

Celebrating the city’s Mid-Century Modern architectural legacy, this $14.7-million conference and fitness center in downtown Phoenix incorporates simple yet bold forms that blend indoor and outdoor spaces through large openings, such as five garage doors, connections to a walkable campus plan and natural lighting through ample fenestration including clerestory windows. The two-story building provides activity, training and gathering spaces for the company’s 3,000-plus employees.

“This project is an investment in our team members, an investment in our future and an investment in the city of Phoenix,” says Joe Shoen, chairman, U-Haul International.

Completed in May 2021, the 54,000-sq-ft facility includes an indoor gymnasium with a premium wood floor, a high-end presentation video/audio system for large public events, an elevated running track, a performance training center with free weights, cardio and functional fitness equipment, spin and aerobics rooms, teaching and meeting spaces, a kitchen and a full health clinic.

The project began in September 2020 with major construction during the height of the pandemic. Fortunately, preparations started during preconstruction with numerous site visits to other facilities to determine material and equipment choices.

Three concerns were paramount: manpower, procurement and schedule. To resolve these, the team pursued aggressive buyout and early procurement of material and equipment. They even identified savings, allowing money for items that were previously put aside because of budget constraints. Examples included a TerraMai wood wall at the entry lobby and stairwell, full logo and graphics design on the basketball court and flooring upgrades.

In addition, the team maintained open-book communications with trade partners and aggressively supplemented field staff. As a result, all major milestones were completed on schedule and at budget.