U-Haul Company of Florida plans to expand in LaVilla by building a new storage facility at 123 Myrtle Avenue North. Occupying a 0.61 acre L-shaped property bounded by Forsyth Street, Myrtle Avenue, Houston Street and Cleveland Street, the proposed building would cover a base ground floor area of 14,969 square feet. In addition, an 11-space off-street parking lot, underground stormtech chamber system and loading dock would be constructed along Myrtle Avenue.

Plans recently submitted to the City of Jacksonville by Jacksonville-based Baker Design Build indicate the new 47.25 foot warehouse would be used to store U-Box® portable moving and storage containers. Branching off from the original U-Haul brand to provide expanded services, the U-Box is U-Haul’s new moving container service. U-Box provides multiple container options and allows clients to customize their services by adding professional loading and storage services if they choose.

The property and an adjacent warehouse at 141 Myrtle Avenue were acquired in August 2020 by U-Haul Moving & Storage with the intent to convert the warehouse into a state-of-the are retail and self-storage facility. Once served by a railroad siding in the middle of Houston Street the property was once used by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and the Western Union Telegraph Company. In recent years, the building has been occupied by McGill’s Custom Counter Tops and Dukeman Custom Woodworking. At the time, Amada Bauer, U-Haul Company of Jacksonville president had this to say about the acquisition.

“This building dates back to 1929 and is full of history. Our goal is to maintain as much of the original character as we can during the renovation process. We are honored to clean up the property and preserve this piece of Jacksonville history. We know the community will love the finished product.”

The acquisition of the property was driven by U-Haul Corporate Sustainability initiatives, which support the adaptive reuse of existing buildings to reduce the amount of energy and resources required for new-building materials and help cities reduce their unwanted inventory of unused buildings.

Established in 1945, U-Haul offers nearly 825,000 rentable storage units and 71.6 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com