Agri-Village no longer vacant, U-Haul to renovate and expand operations
Another long-vacant property in Great Falls has a new owner with plans for redevelopment.
U-Haul Moving & Storage of Great Falls has moved into the 102,739-square foot building of the former Agri-Village shopping center at 4800 10th Ave. S.
U-Haul has opened a temporary showroom in a small portion of the building with plans to add climate controlled storage for the remainder of the building.
The recent acquisition of the property was driven by U-Haul Company’s Corporate Sustainability initiatives, in which U-Haul supports infill developments to help local communities lower their carbon footprint. The company is pursuing adaptive reuse of existing building to reduce the amount of energy and resources required for new building materials and helps cities reduce their unwanted inventory of unused buildings.
“Large properties like this have huge potential, but have a tendency to remain dark and become eyesores,” said Terry Schaub, U-Haul Company of Montana president. “We are excited to preserve and improve this building, and be a strong member of this community for years to come.”
In early 2017, the city fire marshal and planning department deemed the building unsafe for occupancy and it’s been vacant ever since.
The city planning office issued an interior remodeling permit on Aug. 28 for the creation of the small showroom to allow U-Haul to bring in inventory from the Central West location.
Tom Micuda, deputy planning director, said U-Haul’s plan for climate controlled storage in the rest of the building will require additional permits, more life safety modifications and upgrades to the property for zoning compliance.
“Our city officials and neighbors have been very supportive,” Schaub said. “The Agri-Village Shopping Center is well known. Our team is eager to provide the quality self-storage this community needs and to serve Great Falls, including our distinguished military members at Malmstrom Air Force Base.”
The site will eventually have climate-controlled indoor self-storage units with high-tech security features at affordable price points, according to U-Haul. The site will also include towing equipment, professional hitch installation, U-Box portable moving and storage containers and more on the 12.3-acre lot.
Schaub said the Central Avenue West location will remain operational and the new facility is an additional location that is more convenient for customers on the east side of town.
U-Haul Moving & Storage of Great Falls West has been operating since 1982, but has little room for expansion.
The company will work to hire the locally and Schaub expects to maintain a staff of eight or more when the facility is fully operational and the company encourages local contractors to bid on renovation work.