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SEATTLE-The owner of Carter Saab and Carter Volkswagen dealerships in the Ballard neighborhood is obtaining approvals for high-end upgrades to both properties, located across from each other on Leary Way in Ballard.

Working on behalf of the owner, Gordon Fleener Architects has obtained approval for a 15,000-sf “vertical showroom” that would hold 96 cars at the Volkswagen dealership and is in the process of obtaining permits for an 8,000-sf version at the Saab dealership. The glass-fronted showrooms would show off cars on the inside that are stacked one above the other.

“They may not be built at all, depending on the economy, but we’re putting the foundations in for it,” Gordon Fleener tells GlobeSt.com. “There’s nothing currently like it in Seattle.”

Both projects would include the demolition of some existing buildings and the renovation of others. A the Saab site, where work is scheduled to begin next March, plans also include a new office component of about 3,000 sf that would handle most of the administration work for both dealerships, says Fleener.

At the Volkswagen site, despite having the permit for the new showroom, Fleener says the dealership owner is holding off while a permit is sought to renovate a quasi-historic building on the property that was designed by architect Bill Baines for a Hudson dealership that once occupied the site.

Fleener, who says he happened into the dealership design business, also recently completed work for University Audi and University Volkswagen. “A friend of mine passed me a Volvo dealership project and after that I cold-called every auto dealership in town, found two that were interested and continued on from there,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “I also know a fair amount about cars–especially VW’s–which helped.”

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