4951 W. American Blvd., Bloomington

Type: Retail

Addition size: 35,710 square feet

Lot size: 352,374 square feet

Architect: Tanek Architects

Details: Plans by Feldmann Imports Inc. to expand its Mercedes-Benz and Nissan dealership onto the site of a closed Bally Fitness outlet next door on American Boulevard have received the enthusiastic approval of the Bloomington Planning Commission.

According to the plans presented by the 26-year-old dealership, company officials intend to remodel their existing 39,473-square-foot showroom, converting it to a Mercedes-only dealership, and to build a new, 35,710-square-foot showroom on the Bally lot, which Hennepin County property records indicate was sold to a limited liability corporation in October for $4.4 million.

Feldmann executive manager Gene Backer told the commission at its July 23 meeting that the dealer was negotiating with Nissan Motor Co. to sponsor the new dealership, which would be owned by the Feldmanns.

“The business strategy here is to keep the business in the family,” Backer said. “Joe Feldmann is still developing the business and is keeping in a growth pattern. Both franchises are very strong and they will remain under one umbrella.”

The Planning Commission needed to consider an array of requests to give the project its approval, all of which passed on unanimous votes. The most important one was to approve the final development plan for the project, as well as a move to rezone the Bally lot to a classification that matched the existing dealership.

The Feldmann expansion comes as Chrysler and General Motors have moved to close thousands of dealerships as part of their restructurings and onetime Twin Cities automobile dealership mogul Denny Hecker closed outlets late last year before filing personal bankruptcy.

Imports haven’t been immune from the car-sales slowdown; Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG said U.S. sales of the German luxury import fell 26 percent in June, compared with June 2008, and Nissan reported its North American sales for the first half of 2009 plunged 33 percent.

By, DON JACOBSON • StarTribune