After a pause, U-Haul is moving ahead with plans to tear down the existing buildings on the site and build a five-story, 1,200-unit storage facility on the southeast corner of Hiawatha Ave. and 42nd St.
The recent proposal would replace the small building currently on the site that used to be a Mobil Station with the new five-story structure tight up to 42nd St., and place a two-story retail/rental office building on the south side of the site along 43rd St.
The main 28,685-square-foot building will include a variety of storage unit sizes, including 5x5, 5x10, 10x10, and 10x15.
The north side of the building will offer two retail spaces on the first floor, their concession to activating the pedestrian realm which they don’t typically do. The 1035- and 1175-square-foot-spaces could house a restaurant or boutique shop space, and can be tailored to any use. U-Haul has not reached out to any potential businesses yet.
A single-story area on the south side of the main building will have four garage doors.
Self-storage will have 24-hour access at the discretion of the manager. Each unit has an alarm and the building will have full security camera coverage.
U-Haul will employ 20-30 people with 7-8 working per shift.
There will be about 10-15 trucks cycling in and out of the facility each day. Roughly 33% of those trucks will be on site at the same time.
The proposal includes 34 parking spaces total between the two building, including a few spaces for the commercial tenants.
The existing buildings are mostly brick, which they will recycle by grinding it up on site and reusing it in the construction of the new buildings.
U-Haul will use a metal and concrete panel system on the exterior of the new buildings. There will be underground stormwater retention located under grass pavers at the center of the site.
During an online community meeting about the proposal, residents engaged in discussion about whether self-storage and truck and trailer rental were an appropriate use for such a large site in a TOD district, according to Longfellow Community Council Program Manage Justin Gaarder. U-Haul representatives said that having truck rental along a transit corridor will make it easier for people that don’t own personal vehicles to move. They will have a truck reserved specifically for neighborhood use.
The attendees voted in support of LCC providing a letter of support for the truck and trailer rental CUP. However, the height variance vote was mixed with 42.9% yes, 42.9% no and 14% yes but with conditions,” said Gaarder. “The conditions given focused on wanting the retail/rental office building to be more than one story to increase density along the transit corridor and potentially include housing above.”
Following the feedback, U-Haul decided to add a second story to the retail/rental office to make it a fully zoning compliant two-story building.
U-Haul joins several other storage facilities along the Hiawatha corridor, including Public Storage at 3245 Hiawatha Ave. MPLS Storage at 3138 Snelling Ave., and the two iStorage Self Storage at 3601 Hiawatha Ave. and 4325 Hiawatha Ave.
Across the street, the property owner has been looking into plans to replace the Wash Me Car Wash (4155 Hiawatha Ave.) with a Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza, although there has been no date given for that project.