U-Haul, the largest moving and storage business in the nation, has purchased the former Walmart property in Evergreen.
Company officials confirmed with the Beacon that the 15.76-acre property along U.S. Highway 2 East was acquired on March 3. The officials declined to disclose the purchase price. Flathead County had originally offered $2.8 million for the site to be turned into a future detention center, but the property owners ended negotiations in October after a then-undisclosed buyer emerged.
The acquisition marks the first new U-Haul owned and operated store opening in Montana since 1983. The company owns and operates six other full-service centers across the state. There are several so-called neighborhood dealers who work as independent contractors and provide U-Haul services and supplies.
When it’s completed, the new facility in Evergreen will be the largest U-Haul store in Montana, according to company officials.
The company plans to renovate the 129,666-square-foot building into a full-service moving and rental center. The store will offer truck and trailer rentals, moving supplies, towing equipment and hitch installation, U-Box portable containers and varying sizes of indoor, climate-controlled storage units for supplies as well as vehicles and boats.
“This will be a huge hub for everything U-Haul in Western Montana,” Terry Schaub, U-Haul Company of Montana president, said in a statement. “You’ve got the Canadian traffic and the tourism coming through here. It’s a major corner of the state. We have great neighborhood dealers in the area, but we needed a location to serve customers with our full product line and indoor storage. Kalispell feeds the whole west side of the state. A lot of communities come into this area. It’s booming around here.”
The store is already offering moving supplies. The timeframe for renovating the property and opening the storage units remains undetermined but will occur in phases. The renovation process could take up to three years to complete, according to company officials.
Based in Phoenix, Arizona, U-Haul has a network of over 20,000 locations across the U.S.
“I think what people will be interested in knowing is that we’re going to hire our U-Haul Team Members from within the Kalispell area,” Doug McIntyre, U-Haul area district vice president, said in a statement. “It’s going to take a while to complete construction for storage and other aspects of the building, but it’s going to be a beautiful full-service facility that the community can be proud of when it’s finished.”
The former Walmart on U.S. Highway 2 East opened in 1995 and closed in 2010 after the Walmart Supercenter was built in Kalispell’s Hutton Ranch. The site has sat vacant since then.