A proposed luxury car condo building would be the second of its kind in Minnesota if it wins approval from the Medina City Council.
The council is expected to vote Tuesday on AutoMotorPlex’s proposal for a 237,500-square-foot, 12-building complex of private garages on nearly 20 acres of farmland in the west metro suburb.
The garage “condominiums” have been likened to a country club for fancy cars, with 160 to 170 units for car collectors to stash and show their prized autos.
“We have an upscale product that’s, I believe, very befitting of this community,” Bruno Silikowski, a Plymouth resident and company founder, told city leaders last month.
Supporters of the project say it would redevelop farmland and be a family-friendly business. Other residents are concerned the business would draw too much traffic and noise to Medina, changing the rural feel of the small community with a schedule of events that could draw thousands of visitors.
“They’re jamming 12 condominium garages on a 20-acre site,” said Jim Lane, a longtime resident. “I wish it wasn’t going to be as intensely developed as proposed.”
Medina, a wealthy and growing city of 5,200 residents in western Hennepin County, has seen an increase in subdivisions and other development in recent years. The community is best known for horse farms and large homes on sprawling lots.
The suburb had a spike in new housing units in 2012 and 2013, but that trend has since slowed, according to Metropolitan Council data, and commercial development has lagged.
“We’re way behind a place like Plymouth in developing,” Mayor Bob Mitchell said.
The AutoMotorPlex proposal would redevelop farmland near Hwy. 55, east of Arrowhead Drive. “Who would imagine someone would pay to buy a garage in the middle of nowhere?” Mitchell said. “It’s a different concept.”
The garage, which would host a monthly car show that could draw up to 2,000 people, would be only one of a few nationwide and only the company’s second in Minnesota. A 40-acre complex opened in Chanhassen in 2008.
“The density here just seems stunning to me,” resident Paul Jaeb told the Planning Commission last month before the commission approved the general plan. “This is going to be like a bad estate sale every other weekend.”
Lane, an attorney, said that Medina has done a good job at managing suburban development and he wants it to continue. He represents a resident who lives east of the proposed business, however, and is worried about stormwater draining to her land. He said that the project would be better on a larger parcel of land or with berms separating it from rural residential areas.
“How do you blend the commercial development on one side with rural residential on the other side?” he asked. “I hope Medina continues to be an island in Hennepin County where that lifestyle is possible.”
Silikowski said he will work with police on managing traffic and that he has a plan to route cars to Hwy. 55. He added that some Chanhassen residents had been concerned when AutoMotorPlex opened there, but they since had become “our biggest fans” and that no noise complaints had been registered.
In response to city questions this summer about noise, Silikowski said the facility would provide “quiet enjoyment” indoors, with many members likely being Twin Cities CEOs.
If approved Tuesday, crews would break ground soon, he said, with the business opening next fall.
“The demand for this product has far outstripped our supply,” Silikowski said last week. “It will be a place people in the community will be able to enjoy.”