West Duluth U-Haul Location Plans Scrapped After Opposition Develops
A proposal that would have put a U-Haul location in the former Kmart building in Spirit Valley has been taken off the table by the developer. The company cites the strong opposition that arose from business and community members in the neighborhood after the original draft of the plans were announced.
Design plans for the U-Haul retail site - if finished - would have created a store similar to the ones the company already operates in Hermantown and in Superior - offering "a self-service storage facility, retail showroom, installation facility, outdoor display space, and storage space". The company had filed the necessary applications and documents with the City of Duluth for a Special Use Permit.
However, strong opposition developed in the Spirit Valley neighborhood. According to an article published on thedevelopmentracker.com:
"U-Haul withdrew their plans for the new location after numerous neighborhood organizations and individuals voiced their concerns/opposition regarding the new location to the City of Duluth. One of the main concerns cited was the fact that a large industrial business would be locating in what is meant to be a retail corridor."
That opposition also seemed to roll over into the general consensus from city leaders. The article goes on to explain that:
"[f]or U-Haul to move forward with the project, the company would have also needed to secure a Special Use Permit, something that the City of Duluth stated it would not approve for the project at this time."
Coincidentally, the plans for the Spirit Valley U-Haul location in a former Kmart location are very similar to what the company did in Superior. The retail site that they operate on Tower Avenue is located in what used to be a Kmart. That site in Superior on Tower Avenue is also on a corridor that is designed for retail use.
Plans from U-Haul to develop the former Kmart in Spirit Valley/West Duluth would have brought new life to the space that has sat vacant - primarily - since 2018.