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Collision center coming to St. Croix Business Park

A planned 25,000-square-foot auto body repair facility in St. Croix Business Park will double the amount of space in Hudson available for body work, according to the entrepreneur behind the project.

"We've done good market study and there's a tremendous amount of repair work that is being forced over to the Minnesota side (of the St. Croix River)," said Dennis Kennealy, a Hudson resident with 20 years of experience in auto body repair. "There definitely is a need in Hudson for a large facility to serve the consumer base."

The floor plan for the new Rivercity Collision Centre approved by the City Council in December shows 24 repair bays, plus bays for doing repair estimates, paint preparation, spray painting, and vehicle cleaning and polishing.

The facility also will have a spacious customer service area, offices, employee locker and break rooms, and a conference room with a seating capacity of 54.

"Our main focus is to bring a state-of-the-art facility and collision repair business to Hudson," said Kennealy.

He currently operates, and is a partner in, five Minnesota collision centers located in Roseville, Minneapolis, Bloomington, Plymouth and Chanhassen.

Kennealy said Rivercity Collision will target customers who want to pay for repairs themselves, but also draw on his relationships in the insurance industry to attract customers. One of the uses of the facility's conference room will be to provide insurance agents with continuing education, he said.

Kennealy said he's also exploring the possibility of doing boat and large-truck repairs.

The facility will employ about six repair technicians to begin with, he said. He hopes to have as many as 20 technicians as the business grows.

The groundbreaking for the facility has been delayed because the manufacturer of the tip-up concrete walls is running behind schedule. Construction is expected to start in late January or early February.

Kennealy still hopes to have the facility open by the end of June. "It will be a pretty aggressive timeframe to get it up and going," he said.

The building will be located on the south side of Hanley Road at Rock Street, with access to it from Rock Street. Haase Investments will own the building.

The city's Plan Commission expressed some reservations about allowing an auto body repair facility in the business park, but ultimately was satisfied that it wouldn't be an eyesore.

"It will be a very nice-looking facility," Kennealy said.

He said he was treated fairly throughout the approval process and complimented Mayor Jack Breault and Community Development Director Dennis Darnold for their professionalism.

"Hudson should be real proud of how it functions through this process," he said. "It was strict, but it was very methodical... It was a real straightforward deal. There weren't any hidden agendas."

Kennealy has a bachelor's degree in industrial education from UW-Stout. He's been a Hudson resident for close to six years.

His wife, Jodi, has a college degree in the fine arts. They have a blended family of six children.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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