Unique Building On Almono Site Faces Uncertain Future

Aug 15, 2017

Uber has scrapped plans to lease space in one of three remaining buildings on the 28-acre Almono site where the company’s test track for self-driving cars is located.

Uber signed a lease last spring for a portion of the roundhouse building, which once housed trains for repairs and maintenance.

Cost estimates to renovate the roundhouse came back significantly higher than expected and the building has been reabsorbed into the larger Almono development plans.

Uber declined to comment on the record about the decision.

The goal now is to keep options open, said Rebecca Flora, Almono’s project director.

“At this point we’re really just looking at building in a manner of how do we assess its current structural capacity and any potential reuse,” she said.

The roundhouse is part of a later phase of development, but they will address any immediate needs the building may have, Flora said, adding that the Hazelwood-based site as a whole is ready to take off.

“I’m not sure that it would have been several years ago,” she said. “So I think the timing’s really exactly right, right now, for us to be moving forward.”

Site preparations, such as road building and utility installation, have paved the way for renovation of a former mill building, now called Mill 19, that Almono sold to the Regional Industrial Development Corporation.

Almono partners said they plan to seek teams to design a public space in November as part of Mill 19's ongoing renovation, as well as interested developers for other parts of the site.

Uber has leased roughly 2 million square feet of office space throughout the city and recently filed for a permit to build out a space at 3011 Smallman Street in the Strip District.