Developers are building a community of car condos for enthusiasts to park their four-wheeled babies – Reuters
ROCHESTER – Tired of your vintage Corvette scrambling for space in a garage full of kids’ bikes, boxes of Christmas decorations and maybe the family van?
Did you impulsively buy a classic Mustang at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona and now realize you have no place to park it safely?
Two local developers, Steve Penz and Al Ihde, are building a specialized community of “car condos” in northeast Rochester that could be a solution to these first-world problems.
The construction of “car condos” as a place where owners can house special vehicles and as a gathering place to show them off has been happening in the South and major metropolitan areas, such as Minneapolis and Chicago, for some years.
Penz and Ihde are building the first phase of the Roadhouse Motor Condos community by East River Road and Penny Lane between the Rochester Gymnastics Academy complex and Tommy’s Express Car Wash.
The complex will include 31 “condos” which are essentially luxury garages for storing vehicles. Spaces range in size from 750 square feet to 1,600 square feet.
Although there have been delays due to COVID-19 and weather conditions, Roadhouse Motors Condos is expected to be completed this spring with presales beginning in February.
Recognizing that buying a condo for a car isn’t something the average person in Rochester might be interested in, Roadhouse Sales Manager Jay Christenson thinks this project will appeal to more people than you know. imagine.
“There are a lot of local car enthusiasts. It’s their hobby… and their passion. They treat their cars as well as their pets. They love them and they love the automotive community,” said Christianson, realtor for Braasch Commercial Real Estate. “It’s going to be a kind of year-round car show.”
The spaces, which cannot be used as a business or residence, have an array of additional options to create a personalized luxury garage for each buyer.
Each space is equipped with heating, plumbing and security, but a loft living space can be added with special flooring, bathrooms, refrigerators, televisions or anything else to create a comfortable space to enjoy a vehicle and show it comfortably to friends gathered to watch a football match or a car race.
Starting prices, without any of the extra features, are $179,000 for a 750 square foot location, $199,900 for a 1,000 square foot location, and $279,900 for a 1,600 square foot location.
This type of car-focused community has grown in popularity in recent years with several openings in the Twin Cities area. Christianson said people interested in this kind of home for a beloved car aren’t just suit-slick executives.
“I’ve met retired IBMers, Chatfield farmers and all kinds of people who love their cars and are interested in a place like this,” he said. “A guy told me he was just sick of his grandkids scratching his car with their bikes.”
Unlike renting a garage or warehouse somewhere, Christianson says buying an auto condo is a valuable real estate investment.
The two buildings currently under construction are only the beginning of the project. The next phase will include a pavilion where co-owners can gather for meetings, parties or even car shows.
In a city known for its Midwestern fiscally conservative attitudes, Christianson said this project stands out.
“It’s something different and fun for Rochester,” he said.
Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in “Heard on the Street.” Send tips to
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