Wellesley VW Planning to Renovate and Stick Around

Board of Selectmen discuss an upcoming agreement with the Linden Square dealership, part of which includes renovations.


The Linden Square Volkswagen dealership is looking to extend its lease--and some changes in the area could be coming as part of it. 

The current agreement between the town, Wellesley VW, and Federal Realty, which owns the property, expires at the beginning of 2014, but they hope to extend that to 2033 with the new proposal. This first means approval from the Board of Selectmen before putting the matter before Town Meeting. 

On Jan 1, 2014, if this agreement is not approved, or the original is not extended, the zoning reverts to mixed use/retail. This lease agreement was last extended by Town Meeting in 2010.

Along with the extension of the zoning and their lease, Colonial Auto Group which runs Wellesley VW, plan to renovate the building. It will be a state-of-the-art "white frame" facility, similar to the one in Boston, and will have a similar footprint to the existing structure. 

Hans Larsen, the town's Executive Director explained at last night's Board of Selectmen meeting, "whatever is agreed here is not the be all and end all."

All design proposals at the site will still have to be approved by the various boards and committees before construction can begin.

The dealership will also have some neighborhood concerns to address before they can move forward. Selectman Katherine Babson referenced e-mails from Feb. 14 of last year which mentioned loudspeakers at the dealership and the unloading of new vehicles on Linden Street. 

"I don't want to move forward without neighborhood approval." Mike Kelleher of Federal Realty noted, "it's bad business."

He explained that, as part of the agreement, new vehicles will be unloaded on-site--a change he says could go into effect immediately. He also plans to address the loudspeaker issue, and resume meetings with the neighborhood.

Although the dealership has no plans to move anytime soon, included in the agreement is language that allows Federal the option to lease the property to another class 1 auto dealership should they make that call. "Class 1" here means new and used vehicles, so any replacement would be comparable to the current tenant. 

Last night's meeting with the Selectmen was just the first. Federal expects to hold a meeting before the end of February with neighbors, and the Selectmen mentioned an upcoming public hearing on the matter. 


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