International Autos Group advances plans for two new dealerships in Menomonee Falls

Volkswagen, Buick and GMC buildings would be built across the street from existing Von Schledorn dealerships

International Autos Groups' proposed Volkswagen dealership in Menomonee Falls.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:47 pm

International Autos Group is moving forward with plans to construct two new dealership buildings on Main Street in Menomonee Falls, which are meant to replace the existing Von Schledorn Auto Group dealership just across the street.

International Autos Group’s proposed Volkswagen dealership in Menomonee Falls.

On Tuesday evening, the village’s Plan Commission is scheduled to consider the dealer group’s plans to build a 20,000-square-foot Buick and GMC dealership building and 22,000-square-foot Volkswagen building.

The two new facilities would be constructed on a vacant site on the north side of Main Street, between Fountain Boulevard and Lilly Road and just east of the Interstate 41 interchange with Main Street.

International Autos knew it would be building the new facilities when it acquired the Volkswagen and Buick/GMC franchises from von Schledorn last July, said Dan Jansen, general manager with International Autos.

“To be frank, those facilities that are there are completely dated,” Jansen said of the existing dealership building. “We knew going into (the deal) that we’d build two new buildings across the street.”

The application submitted to the village states there will be 65 combined full-time employees at the buildings, with 47 employees on site during the largest shift.

Von Schledorn for years sold vehicles manufactured by both Volkswagen and General Motors at the same location. Matt Carran, director of community development with Menomonee Falls, said the auto manufacturers are now requiring the vehicles be sold at separate facilities.

The construction of the new buildings would also allow for the eventual demolition of the existing dealership site, which includes a body shop and collision center. Milwaukee-based Cobalt Partners LLC has plans to buy that site as part of a $50 million redevelopment plan that will include a corporate campus. When first announcing the redevelopment plans in November 2017, Cobalt CEO Scott Yauck said the office park would offer a “vibrant, flexible, collaborative, and amenity-rich environment intended to enhance the ability of businesses to attract and retain top talent.”

As part of that planned development, von Schledorn was to originally build the new dealerships across the street and began design work before instead deciding to sell the franchises to International Autos, said Carran.

Von Schledorn Auto Group has had dealerships at this location for more than 50 years, dating back to 1965, when Ernie von Schledorn initially established a Pontiac and Buick dealership.

The planned redevelopment of that site should be a benefit to the new International Auto dealerships, said Jansen, due to the amount of traffic it should draw to the area.

“We think that’s a great addition,” he said.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.