A Chrysler dealership planned in Napa has gained wings – longer ones.
Four-foot extensions at each end of a sloping, Chevron-shaped roof were among design changes that have won city approval for a new showroom to house Hanlees Chrysler at 459 Soscol Ave.
The Planning Commission on Thursday signed off on the project, which will emulate the winged roof and mid-20th-century modernism of the existing Chrysler outlet, a survivor from Napa auto row’s early days in the 1950s and 1960s.
Napa’s land-use authority granted permits for the 17,800-square-foot butterfly-top building, where Chryslers, Dodges, Jeeps and Ram pickups will be sold, more than six months after the Gasser Foundation, the site owner, presented a design that replaced an earlier and conventionally boxlike plan. Although less transparent and airy than its inspiration – a structure largely walled with plate glass – it reused the split-V roofline that gives the current Chrysler its distinctive look.
City planners in April showed early favor on the general design of the throwback showroom but called for further changes, including a smaller and less garish sign to mark its service bay. In addition to downsized lettering, showroom planners lengthened the roofline at its ends to emphasize its wing-like effect, according to city senior planner Michael Allen.
The months of give and take between city and applicant produced something close to the best possible result, according to Commissioner Michael Murray.
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“It’s refreshing not to see a cookie-cutter design of ‘This is what Dodge wants’ or ‘This is what Jeep wants,’” he said before joining three other planners in approval. (Gordon Huether was recused because an outdoor artwork of his design will be placed at a nearby street crossing under construction west of Soscol Avenue – a site that, like the future showroom, is owned by the Gasser Foundation.)
Later, one side of the relocated Hanlees Chrysler will be adorned with a mosaic mural, which the city will review separately, Allen said.
The new showroom will occupy a site near a new intersection of Saratoga Drive with Peatman Drive, a north-south street under construction that will serve hundreds of apartments at The Braydon, the rental complex formerly called Vista Tulocay.
Hanlees’ existing Chrysler outlet is part of a 10-acre property at 333 Soscol Ave. owned by the Gasser Foundation, and did business for more than 40 years as Barwick Motors before local dealer Don Lee bought it out of bankruptcy in 2016.
In March 2017, the Gasser Foundation announced an unnamed developer had made an offer on the current dealership site, which had been listed for sale at $20 million.