POCATELLO — One of the largest vacant buildings in the Gate City could soon become a massive indoor self-storage facility.
U-Haul, a moving equipment and storage rental company, has plans to repurpose the former Kmart building on the 3900 block of Pole Line Road in Pocatello into a self-storage facility, according to Casey Jones, president of U-Haul Company of Idaho.
The Pocatello Planning and Zoning Commission last week unanimously approved a conditional use permit for AMERCO Real Estate Company to turn the 96,000-square-foot facility into an indoor self-storage and U-Haul truck and trailer retail store. AMERCO specifies on its website that it provides “real-estate and development services to the U-Haul system.”
“We still haven’t closed on the property yet, but now that we know we can operate in that location conditionally, we are going to put the project in front of our board to sign-off for approval,” Jones said. “If our board signs off on it, which I expect that they will, then we will complete an expansion of the old Kmart building.”
Without presenting information to the U-Haul board of directors, Jones said it’s still too early to know any specifics of the Kmart building acquisition, including whether U-Haul will purchase or lease the facility and for how much.
Once repurposed, the facility will include at least 700 indoor self-storage units with climate-controlled rooms, said Jones, adding that propane, hitch installation and portable moving and storage containers will also be available.
“The new facility will be lighter on the truck rental business and heavier on the indoor climate-control self storage for our customers,” Jones said. “One thing my customers have told me over the years is that they won’t pay for a storage unit if their stuff gets ruined.”
Jones continued, “Many of those who use facilities that deal with the hot and cold temperature swings in Idaho experience damaged belongings, so having a climate-controlled storage facility is a premium product for those who care about their stuff.”
Jones said that the Pocatello Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request to reuse the old Kmart building with the condition that U-Haul also beautifies the existing property and surrounding landscape.
Furthermore, Jones said that the acquisition of the old Kmart building falls in line with U-Haul’s set of economically, environmentally and socially responsible goals. Jones said the company buys abandoned buildings and repurposes them, which saves energy and building materials, effectively reducing the carbon footprint of local communities.
Last month, U-Haul announced that it bought the 103,977-square-foot vacant Kmart building in Ammon on Aug. 14 to be repurposed into a similar indoor storage facility.
The Kmart in Pocatello closed in April 2016. Earlier this year, dozens of Kmarts and other Sears Holdings Corp. stores closed throughout the country. Sears Holding Corp. owns Kmart, the Kenmore Brand and DieHard batteries.
The Post-Register contributed to this report.