NORMAL — Grossinger Motors will install a new parking lot to display cars, less-intrusive exterior lights and three new interior areas as part of a "multimillion-dollar" expansion to be completed next year.
The 1430 Fort Jesse Road dealership will house 100 more cars outside, reduce light reflected to nearby homes and have a separate Audi showroom and private car wash inside, according to plans filed with the town of Normal.
"We think this will be more attractive and advantageous to our customers," said Grossinger General Sales Manager Russell Hurst.
Officials working on the expansion declined to provide an exact cost, but it represents a "multimillion-dollar investment," said architect Richard Becker of Highland Park-based Becker Architects. Hurst said construction should wrap up next summer or fall.
The expansion will use property already owned by the dealership, which is at the intersection of Fort Jesse Road and Towanda Avenue.
The 3,660-square-foot Audi showroom will be southwest of the current building; 2,720-square-foot customer service space, southeast; 690-square-foot car wash, northeast; and parking lot, west.
The town staff signed off on the plans as submitted with the exception of the lights, which would be brighter than lighting code allows. The dealership's current lights also are brighter than code allows because they were installed before the current code was implemented.
"The point is, what has the customer base and the neighborhood gotten used to?" said Inspection Director Greg Troemel.
The Normal Planning Commission approved the plans on Thursday with brighter-than-usual lights on auto display areas only. The new lights will be tilted down rather than up or to the side, which will reduce glare, and they also will reduce light projected outside the lot and be more energy-efficient.
"It will not be drastically different than what's out there now except that it will reduce what's bad," said Town Planner Mercy Davison.
As part of the project, Grossinger will remove a digital sign on the southeast corner of the building. Davison said staff expects "they'll come back in the next few months (or) year and have some sign changes."
The project now goes to Normal City Council for approval. The council meets next on July 18.