Building size: 23,137 square feet
Lot size: 2.6 acres
Owner: KEH&H Properties
Architect: Darwin Lindahl Architects
Details: Hopkins-based Morrie’s Automotive Group has purchased the former Inver Grove Heights Volkswagen dealership and is preparing to launch a showroom renovation and rebranding as Morrie’s Inver Grove Mazda.
The dealership, once part of the Denny Hecker stable of car lots that disintegrated in 2009 with the auto mogul’s financial collapse, has been a Lamettry’s Collision auto body center in recent years but now is in line for a makeover by Morrie’s.
The company received a variance from city building materials codes to accomplish the planned exterior renovations, which it said are needed to meet the current image standards demanded by automakers.
In recent years, manufacturers have been pushing dealers to refurbish their showrooms, turning drab, functional spaces into sleek plazas that resemble offices or shopping malls.
Architect Darwin Lindahl’s plans for the new Morrie’s include cladding the south side of the existing building with architectural-grade metal panels of varying colors and textures, meant to exemplify Mazda’s “sports car aesthetic.”
The south side of the dealership is its most visible, facing Hwy. 110.
A small addition to the building would include metal panels, while the rest of the structure would get a fresh paint job.
Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.