Anoka approves Main Motors’ expansion plan

Last month Main Motors received a series of approvals that will allow for a major renovation and expansion of the long-time Anoka car dealership.

The Anoka City Council unanimously approved the site plan as well as a long-overdue conditional use permit and a variance for the size of the signs on the building for Main Motors at 435 West Main Street.

Karen Carlson, who up until recently served as the general manager of Main Motors owned by her husband Lee, said General Motors is calling for upgrades to their dealership, which has been in Lee Carlson’s family for 93 years.

This includes a dedicated Cadillac sales center, required by General Motors because the Anoka dealership is considered to be in the metro area.

“It needs upgrading and we hope this will make it a very contemporary and nice place to visit,” Carlson said.

While the upgrades are made to the building, Main Motors will also add a four-pit express lube service and will also push out the back of the building to add 12 more service bays to accommodate its service business. Along with the Cadillac store, the dealership will add more than 10,000 square feet of space.

The outdoor lot to display new and used vehicles for sale will also be expanded and repaved to include the neighboring lot where a building was demolished last year.

Site plan approval for three additions to the property includes the Cadillac sales center addition on the west side, proposed quick lube addition on the east side and service center addition on the north side facing Highway 10, said Planning Director Carolyn Braun.

“[Main Motors] has been there for many years and never had a conditional use permit so this is more about cleaning this up and assuring their future,” Braun said.

The city also agreed to allow Main Motors to use exterior building materials that are not included in the current standards for the area.

“The Planning Commission looked at that and determined they were good durable materials and they fit the nature of the site,” Braun said.

A variance on the signs for the building has been in place since 1999 and was renewed by the council.

Braun said the exceptions fit for Main Motors because it is a much larger building and site (13 acres) than what you would typically see on West Main Street.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver commended Main Motors for sticking it out through tough economic times and fighting back when the dealership was one of several slated to lose its General Motors franchise contract in 2010.

“That’s a David and Goliath story every day. And it’s phenomenal,” Weaver said.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]