Bakersfield’s city zoning board green-lighted a key permit Tuesday that paves the way for the sale of a long-vacant southwest Target building to U-Haul, which will convert it into a truck rental and storage facility.

The nearly 106,000-square-foot building at 1300 Wible Road has been vacant since October 2010, when a newer, larger Target opened at Valley Plaza. It’s located on about 7 acres immediately north of the Ming Avenue on-ramps to north Highway 99.

The city’s board of zoning adjustment voted 3-0 to allow the project in a regional commercial zone, provided rental trucks and trailers be required to use a traffic signal on Wible Road to enter and leave the property.

Reusing the existing structure will allow it to open more quickly, a representative of Amerco Real Estate Co., a real estate subsidiary of U-Haul, said, but exactly when remains unclear.

“We’ve been focusing on adaptive reuse for the past few years and basically this fits,” said Randy Lopez, who works in Amerco’s planning and zoning division.

David H. Paynter, a general partner at F & S Partners, L.P. of Irvine, confirmed the property — described in a city staff report as “beginning to show signs of deterioration” — is in escrow.

“I think that’s the biggest positive,” said Paynter, noting F & S had tried unsuccessfully to attract retail interest during the roughly two years it has owned the property.

According to the city and Amerco, U-Haul will reuse the entire Target building as a showroom, warehouse and roughly 850 indoor storage units.

Outside, nearly 15,000 square feet of parking will give U-Haul enough space to feature its entire truck and trailer rental lines.

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