car condo

Automobile enthusiasts could soon have a place in Big Lake to store their prized possessions.

The Big Lake City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 11 approved the final plat, final stage planned unit development agreement, and a rezoning request from Industrial to PUD for an 8-unit “Car Condo” at 16795 198th Avenue, on land south of the Friendly Buffalo bar and restaurant.

Billed as a storage building used by car enthusiasts, owner Richard Hinrichs of Big Lake proposes the property will someday include a club house and five additional 8-unit car condos.

While some of these centers cropping up in Twin Cities suburbs such as Eagan and Chanhassen have premium amenities such as wet bars and kitchen facilities, as well as water and sewer services running to each condo, the Big Lake facility is slated to be a bit more modest.  

A preliminary plan approved by the City on October 23 called for a single garage building oriented away from 198th Avenue that has a driveway access and an asphalt parking lot south of the garage building. The garage building will not have individual garage units that are hooked up to sewer and water. Only a public bathroom will be hooked up to sewer and water. Future buildings may have sewer and water hookups if additional phases occur and the market is supportive of those amenities.

But since the Oct. 23 approval of the preliminary plan, Hinrichs has made revisions to his project, according to Michael Healey, city planner for the City of Big Lake.

Amendments to the project plan now call for the installation of a sewer line and water line underneath the parking lot to the south of the Phase 1 garage building. However, Hinrichs will not be hooking up water or sewer to the building being built in the project’s first phase, Healey said. A planned future garage building south of Phase 1 is now planned to be served with sewer and water. 

In addition, the owners of units in the Phase 1 building will, in theory, have the option of installing a sewer and water connection to their units by tapping into these new pipes in the parking lot to the south of their building. Water and sewer could also be run into a future clubhouse building, as well, he said.

Plan amendments also show Hinrichs installing infiltration basins to comply with engineering requirements, Healey said.

The City Council had until December 29 to act on the car condo proposal. The City’s second meeting of December was canceled because it would have fallen on Christmas Day. For that reason, action was taken at the Wednesday, Dec. 11 meeting of the Big Lake City Council.

Reach Jeff Hage at


Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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