Auto dealership, church plan to expand

Contributing Writer

A Coon Rapids auto dealership and church are expanding.

The Coon Rapids Planning Commission May 18 approved site plans for Coon Rapids Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram to construct a new building at 10541 Woodcrest Dr. NW and Spirit of Grace Church to build a new sanctuary, multipurpose room and vestibule at 10110 Woodcrest Dr. NW.

Coon Rapids Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram is proposing an 80,500 square-foot building to replace the 28,516 square-foot facility that was built in 2002 when the business moved to Woodcrest Drive from its previous location on Coon Rapids Boulevard.

According to Planner Scott Harlicker, the footprint of the new two-story building will be 64,080 square feet and the parking lot will also be reconfigured, but the newly constructed parking lot to the north, for which site plan approval was given in 2015, won’t be part of this project.

The new building will be relocated so that it is closer to North Country Ford to the south and farther away from the townhomes to the northwest, Harlicker told the commission.

The dealership will continue to operate out of the existing building while the new one is constructed, he said.

No new access is proposed with the existing driveways off Woodcrest Drive remaining no additional parking is needed, Harlicker said.

While the site plan does not need Coon Rapids City Council approval, a proposal to have the west side of the dealership, which includes the main entrance and showroom windows, comprises 48 percent glass will have to go to the council for action because city code stipulates a 35 percent maximum of one material, according to Harlicker.

Coon Rapids Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram is among 12 auto dealerships owned by Pohlad Cos’ Carousel Motor Group.

According to Wayne Pisinski, vice president, fixed operations for Carousel Motors, the goal is to have the new building completed by the third quarter of 2018.

While site plan approval has been approved by the city, Chrysler has to sign off on the certain aspects of the project, for example, building materials, before construction can start, Pisinski said in an interview following the meeting.

The decision to expand the dealership was made by Carousel Motors because of the strength of business, he said.

“We have experienced lots of growth in the past four years at Coon Rapids Chrysler and we anticipate that to continue,” Pisinski said.

Church expansion

Spirit of Grace Church is proposing a 276-seat sanctuary, an 859 square-foot multipurpose room and a 109 square-foot vestibule.

The existing, smaller sanctuary will be converted into a meeting room or common area, Harlicker said.

There is no change in the access from Woodcrest Drive and the new construction does not require more parking, but additional landscaping will be provided between the church building and the park for screening, he said.

A condition of approval is that the exterior materials on north side of the building comply with the 35 percent for one type of material as spelled out in code; it is currently 48 percent, Harlicker said.

According to its website, the church started in 1996 in Brooklyn Park, then relocated to a storefront in Blaine in 2001 before purchasing land on Woodcrest Drive in 2011 and starting construction of a church on that site in 2014, opening in the spring 2015.