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Schwieters Chevrolet building new dealership in Willmar

Shelby Lindrud / Tribune Schwieters Chevrolet of Willmar has plans to relocate from its current home on First Street to a new location on Willmar Avenue, near the US 71 and Highway 23 bypass.1 / 2
Shelby Lindrud / Tribune Schwieters Chevrolet in Willmar is planning to build a new dealership along the south side of Willmar Avenue adjacent to Lakeland Drive Southeast. It is hoped construction can be completed in 2017.2 / 2

WILLMAR — Schwieters Chevrolet in Willmar is planning to build a new dealership along the south side of Willmar Avenue adjacent to Lakeland Drive Southeast. The dealership will be relocating to the new site from its present location on First Street South.

"It is going to give us better opportunity," Schwieters Managing Partner Bill Zastrow said.

The dealership's current site is very cramped, so the new location will allow the business to spread out. Schwieters has seen consistent growth in the past several years, around 20 percent year over year, Zastrow said. and the new project will allow them to expand the business in sales, service and parts.

"It will be a better experience for our customers and employees," Zastrow said.

The Willmar Planning Commission and the Willmar City Council recently rezoned the site for the new dealership from agriculture to general business.

"It is a logical extension of growth for the city of Willmar," said Bruce Peterson, planning and development director, at the June 5 city council meeting.

With the land rezoned, the auto dealership is a permitted use and will not require a plan review from the planning commission, said Willmar Planner Megan DeSchepper. The next step would be for FRE Holdings, who is purchasing the land, to apply for a city building permit. Once the permit is approved, construction could begin.

"We look forward to the project. We think it will be a great project for that area of Willmar, " Mayor Marv Calvin said at the June 5 council work session.

The owner of the land, Gayle Hawkinson, has requested a reduction of the deferred assessments on the property from $246,823 to $211,244, the 2016 value, which the purchase agreement for the land includes. The city council will decide on that issue at Monday's council meeting.

"I'm not looking for special treatment, but honest and fair treatment, which all your citizens deserve," Hawkinson said during the June 5 council work.

Once the land sale is completed, Zastrow said construction will begin shortly thereafter. The hope is to have the new dealership completed by winter.

"Our goal is Christmas," Zastrow said.

No firm plans have been set for the site on First Street, Zastrow said.

The main goal of the move for Schwieters is to better serve their loyal customers and the new ones who will come to the new location.

"We're thankful for the great community of Willmar. We thank them for their business," Zastrow said.

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