TaMaryn Waters, Democrat staff writer
U-Haul’s plans to build its first ever “Smart Mobility Center” by converting vacant buildings on Tallahassee’s west side cleared a major rezoning hurdle.
Last week, city commissioners approved a request to create a Planned Unit Development for roughly 24 acres near Capital Circle Northwest and Tennessee Street. The PUD allows the land and buildings to be used for warehouses, mini-warehouses or self-storage facilities. Its previous zoning allowed a high-intensity urban activity center.
The mobility center would include up to 85,000 square feet of research and incubator space, up to 150,000 square feet for a smart mobility showroom and self-storage area and up to 23,000 square feet each for bike sales and service and a Ford Chariot rideshare facility for commuter shuttles.
A U-Haul spokesman said the company couldn’t comment on the pending project at this early stage. However, the PUD documents outline the company’s plans to meet future demand in the “era of smart mobility” heavily influenced by the shared economy.
“Our smart mobility showroom will showcase products and prototypes that deploy smart technologies and advancements in mobility,” project documents said.
The mixed-use facility also will include electric vehicle charging stations and alternative fuel stations.
“Our collaboration can be a prototype for how a city can become ‘smart’ and explore what the future of cities can be. We would be proud to be a part of the movement with the City of Tallahassee,” according to the PUD documents.
Ed Murray, principal at NAI TALCOR, a commercial real estate company working with U-Haul, said the company hopes to finish its $6-million purchase this week.
“It’s a prototype that they’re just starting to do,” Murray said.
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