MERIDEN — U-Haul recently opened a 5,000-square-foot retail and rental store in Lincoln Plaza and will add 200 self-storage units in empty storefronts in the rear.
Amerco, the parent company for U-Haul, bought Lincoln Plaza at 311 W. Main St. for $2.7 million last April.
The 70,084-square-foot plaza is anchored by Save-A-Lot grocery store, Dollar General and Rent-A-Center. Napoli’s Restaurant and a laundromat are also on the premises. Existing stores will not be affected by the changes, said Pete Sciortino, a representative of Amerco Real Estate Co.
“Everybody who is here will stay here,” Sciortino said.
Two storefronts next to Sav-A-Lot make up about 20,000 square feet and will house the majority of the storage units. U-Haul will fill in other vacancies with additional units.
The U-Haul store occupies space vacated by Hollywood Video, which left the plaza more than 10 years ago. New life for aging plaza
Lincoln Plaza is 50 years old and sits on five acres. Amerco has moved the existing driveway to allow for a covered truck return bay in front of the store. It is required to have utilities, so construction crews are digging up the parking lot and will shift the driveway eastward.
“It’ll be a lot better when that’s complete,” Sciortino said.
The Lincoln Plaza location suited the company’s needs in the city and gives residents a west side location to rent trucks and vans, hitches, and purchase moving supplies.
“We’re U-Haul, he said. “We have a captive audience.”
U-Haul also operates a truck rental facility without self-storage at 284 East Main St.
Construction of the storage units will likely be completed in the spring, when the company plans a grand-opening, Sciortino said.
The city’s west side has seen some improvements in recent years, but its lack of growth spurred some residents to ask the city to encourage economic development in the area.East side, west side
City Councilor David Lowell, who chairs the Economic Development Housing and Zoning Committee, said panel members have asked the economic development director to study possible incentives that would include the west side.
“We have found that the economic development incentives on East Main Street were very successful,” Lowell said. “It was passed five years ago and expires this year.”
The incentives helped bring Taino Prime restaurant, new construction for Huxley’s Bookmark Restaurant and ION Bank.
Lowell wants to ensure that any resolution to renew the tax incentives takes into account the entire city. Lowell said he would like to extend the East Main Street incentives to Research Parkway, and review areas on West Main Street, including Centennial Plaza where there are large vacancies.
“We want to try to take different structures and repurpose them,” Lowell said. “We’re basing it on the success of East Main Street.”