South Kalispell could have an economic boost this year with DePratu Ford and Volkswagen planning to build a new Volkswagen dealership there.
At about 11,000 square feet, the dealership would take shape south of the Four Corners intersection and Kalispell Toyota on four acres of land at the southeast corner of U.S. 93 and Lower Valley Road.
Glacier Volkswagen would sell new and used Volkswagens and have its own service department.
“It’s still preliminary, but we have an OK from Volkswagen, we have the land purchased. The next step is jumping through hoops,” said Jeff Brown, owner and general manager of DePratu Ford and Volkswagen in Whitefish.
“In a perfect world we’d be moving in the first of August,” Brown said. “The idea is to have it be a fast-track project.”
DePratu plans to keep its Ford dealership in Whitefish, Brown said.
The Volkswagen franchise and all of its service personnel would move to south Kalispell.
The expansion could mean 20 to 30 new job opportunities.
“We just thought it would be a good time to move and expand and shake things up a bit,” Brown said. “Part of it is our Volkswagen sales were up 34 percent in 2012. So they are moving and shaking and the timing is pretty good to expand it.”
The new Volkswagen dealership would be built on a four-acre lot that’s part of a 7.65-acre planned unit development put together by Gardner Investments.
Kalispell agreed to annex the Gardner property with a broad commercial zoning in exchange for a planned unit development overlay that gives the city some oversight in regard to how the gateway property is developed.
Site plans for the car dealership must go before the Kalispell Planning Board for a recommendation and then be approved by the Kalispell City Council.
The project goes before Planning Board members for an informational work session on Tuesday, Feb. 12. That will be followed by a formal public hearing on Tuesday, March 12.
The Volkswagen dealership would be one of the biggest development projects to materialize in south Kalispell for several years, Kalispell Planning Director Tom Jentz said.
“You can look across the street at the Toyota dealership, it will mirror that in terms of size and scale,” Jentz said. “They’re looking to do a great job down there. This is a big boom for south Kalispell.”
Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at email@example.com.