Motor Mart redevelopment

Java Companies is looking to bring two new drive-thru businesses to the former Motor Mart convenience store property in downtown Savage.

A vacant property in downtown Savage is being eyed for commercial redevelopment. 

Java Companies is looking to bring two new drive-thru businesses to the former Motor Mart convenience store property, according to plans presented to city officials this month. 

Caribou Coffee's drive-thru model, known as a "Caribou Cabin," and an undisclosed sandwich shop are the businesses involved with the project, according to Mark Krogh with Java Companies. 

The former Motor Mart site is located on the northwest corner of Princeton Avenue and 123rd Street.

A city-owned parcel of land sits between the Motor Mart property and the east bank of the Credit River. The parking lot on-site is informally used by Buffalo Tap staff members. 

The city purchased the site in 2013 to help facilitate the eventual redevelopment of Motor Mart, according to City Administrator Brad Larson. Soon after, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's updated flood maps prohibiting building structures on the property. 

Java Companies is looking to purchase the city-owned site in addition to the Motor Mart property to support parking needs for its redevelopment plans. A recent appraisal valued the city-owned land at $50,000, according to Larson. 

On Wednesday, the Economic Development Commission unanimously recommended the Savage City Council move forward with the land sale. At a work session earlier this month, city officials spoke positively of the plans during a preliminary discussion.

Krogh said Java Companies would be interested in providing landscaping and outdoor tables to allow customers to enjoy the Credit River. 

Caribou Coffee opened its first Caribou Cabin model in Jordan in November 2019. A second location opened in Burnsville soon after. 

Motor Mart's history 

In 2012, the city reached a $600,000 settlement agreement with Townsend Properties, the owner of Motor Mart. 

The business closed in light of Highway 13 improvements that shut off highway access at Princeton Avenue and other local downtown connections. 

According to city documents from the time, an appraisal indicated the total claim against the city could be as high as $2 million if the city lost in court.

With too much risk associated with litigation, officials voted 4-1 to execute a settlement agreement instead. 

Mayor Janet Williams cast the lone vote against the settlement because she did not believe closing the access destroyed the business, according to city documents.