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U-Haul decides to not proceed with Kmart project

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The empty Kmart building along State Rd. in La Crosse will remain vacant.

U-Haul confirmed in January it purchased the building with plans to open a temporary retail showroom. Eventually, the company hoped to work with the City of La Crosse to rezone for self-storage and U-Haul truck and trailer sharing. However, a spokesperson told WIZM News Tuesday U-Haul chose to not proceed with the project.

The purchase created conversation and controversy in the city. For example, Tim Acklin of the La Crosse Planning Department said the space would be a prime location for other types of development.

“We do not feel that having it used for self-storage units as sort of a rental center is the best use of that land,” Acklin said last month. “We don’t feel that’s the highest and best use of arguably one of the prime pieces of redevelopable land in the city at the moment.”

Mayor Tim Kabat also expressed his displeasure with the idea.

“I’m disappointed that the building is not being demolished, and that we’re not starting fresh there because we’ve talked about any number of concepts of mixed-use housing, neighborhood serving retail, restaurants,” Kabat said in a January council meeting.

The building sat vacant since Kmart closed its store in Sept. 2017. When it first purchased the building, U-Haul said it looked forward to revitalizing the property and being a key part of La Crosse’s growth and future.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. dave sprain

    March 4, 2021 at 8:43 am

    who cares what the mayor and city council think this was a sale of private property to a tax paying company.

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