TALLMADGE — The U-Haul Co. is preparing to put a moving and storage facility at the site of a Kmart store.

City Council on April 11 voted 6-0 to give conditional approval to U-Haul’s planned use of the property at 555 South Ave.

Alissa Nider, U-Haul Co. of Akron president, said U-Haul will purchase the building and the eight-plus acres on which it sits — but the sale does not necessarily mean Kmart will leave.

Bill Rains, area district vice president for U-Haul, said the property is under contract to AMERCO Real Estate (U-Haul’s parent company), which is expected to close on the purchase “in the near future.”

“We are unable to provide a specific date, as projected closing dates tend to change with regularity,” Rains said.

The Kmart store, meanwhile, continues to operate. Deborah Mandat, the Kmart manager, said Tuesday she had not been notified about U-Haul's plans.

A Kmart corporate representative did not respond to a phone and email message.

Rains noted it will be up to Kmart officials to determine their future at the site.

“Kmart has been a fixture of this community, and we have no intention of forcing them to close once the purchase is complete,” Rains said. “Kmart could remain a tenant for an undetermined time.”

Rains added, “If and when Kmart vacates the property, we will implement our adaptive reuse program to transition the building into a full-service U-Haul facility.”

Nider reported Kmart put a package of five or six stores on the market. “Hopefully the public realizes that we didn’t approach them to purchase property and take them out of business or anything like that,” Nider said, adding, “It’s the opposite. We would never do that to a business.”

Rains said there are about 65,000 people within a three-mile radius that U-Haul could serve with its products at that South Avenue location. He noted he expected the site would employ 15 to 20 people.

U-Haul truck and trailer rentals and moving supplies would be available, Nider said, and customers would have access to climate-controlled storage units inside.

 

Reporter Ellin Walsh contributed to this report.