Andover council approves new auto service business

An automotive business new to the state of Minnesota got approval from the Andover City Council Tuesday night (Jan. 15) to build a new store.

Christian Brothers Automotive is mostly based in the deep south, although there are locations in Kansas City and St. Louis, but the business is ready to expand farther north and plans to build its first Minnesota store in Andover.

The council approved a conditional use permit (CUP) for Christian Brothers Automotive to be located just east of the new Kwik Trip store on the south side of Bunker Lake Boulevard and east of Jay Street at 1716 Bunker Lake Blvd. N.W.

The business purchased a 0.68-acre plot of land from Kottke’s Bus Service. The property currently has a pole building on it, according to Community Development Director David Carlberg.

Jonathan Wakefield came from Houston, Texas, to tell the council more about the business.

Christian Brothers Automotive provides ongoing maintenance for vehicles such as oil changes, brakes, serpentine belts, alternators, power steering and so on. They can do some transmission work, but that is not their focus. They are not a lube shop or tire shop and would not be doing body work.

The business will regularly be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will be open the same hours on Saturdays when it first opens, but Wakefield said the normal business practice is to not be open on the weekends after it has been open for about six months. This gives customers and employees their weekends back, Wakefield said.

For those who work near the business, Christian Brothers Automotive can drive you to and from work when your vehicle is being worked on. Or you could stay behind in an upscale waiting room. Another option is to drop off your car before the business opens and leave your keys in a drop box.

One stipulation of the CUP was that no vehicles can be parked outside overnight. The council modified this requirement to say that with the exception of vehicles being dropped off for service, other vehicles cannot be parked outside overnight.

Wakefield said if they need to keep a vehicle more than a day because they are waiting on parts, they would store it inside their building.

Councilmember Julie Trude was impressed with the design of the building and how the best looking side was facing the more heavily traveled Bunker Lake Boulevard rather than the service road where people would access the store. Wakefield said the architecture of the buildings is “similar to a small cottage with a nine-car garage.”

Carlberg said the proposed materials greatly exceed the minimum standards established by the city code.

This business would also be exceeding the city code standards for landscaping. Wakefield said Christian Brothers Automotive’s practice before it brings a proposal to a community is to find out what its local landscaping ordinance requirements are and exceed it by 10 to 15 percent. They ask the city where they would like the extra landscaping. In this case, the extra landscaping will go on the back side of the development to provide more screening between this business and the rest of Kottke’s property.

“We really have tried to put our best foot forward,” Wakefield said.

The way to access this site would be from the Bunker Lake Boulevard service road that was reconstructed a couple of years ago when the new Kwik Trip went in on the old Eddy’s Auto Body site.

The western portion of the old service road was shifted to the south so the service road access at Jay Street could be a safer distance away from Bunker Lake Boulevard. The Kwik Trip development company and Kottke’s Bus Service company were assessed because the new service road alignment to allow the Jay Street access would benefit the development potential of both properties.

The Andover Economic Development Authority paid $120,684.18, Convenience Store Investments, Inc. paid $85,374.05 and Kottke’s paid $32,458.68.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]