Wednesday, August 2, 2006
By JONATHAN NELSON Columbian staff writer Advertisement
Downtown Vancouver's lone auto dealership is a step closer to leaving its landmark site and joining the competition at the auto mall near Andresen Road.
Carr Auto Group is asking the city to change the zoning of seven parcels, four of which the Oregon-based company owns, so it can build Cadillac and GMC, Pontiac and Buick showrooms at the corner of Fourth Plain Boulevard and Northeast 66th Avenue. The two buildings would stretch across 4 acres, an acre bigger than the dealership's location at 901 C St.
Dan Kuske, vice president of Carr, said the company is talking with General Motors officials about the design of the two showrooms. He said the earliest construction could begin would be later this year.
"We have the utmost urgency to get it going," Kuske said. "Time is running out on us."
The urgency is rooted in an agreement between Carr and GMC that requires the auto lot to move out of downtown and near the Vancouver Auto Mall within three years after the 2005 purchase of Bill Copps Motors.
Carr, which employs 60 people, paid approximately $1.9 million for the four parcels, Kuske said. The price for building the showrooms hasn't been determined, he said.
Carr executives had hoped construction would have started this summer, but finding the land and maneuvering through the planning process has taken longer than anticipated.
Carr's entry into the Clark County market mirrors the national trend of consolidation. Last year, Vancouver businessman Alan Webb expanded his line of automobiles when he bought the Vancouver Mazda Dodge dealership. He also intends to move the company from its Hazel Dell location to the auto mall area.
The downtown auto dealer opened in 1917. Copps became a partner in the business in 1967. The property, now owned by Killian Pacific, is being considered for a major redevelopment project that would move the downtown library onto the site as part of a residential, retail and commercial complex.
Jonathan Nelson covers retail. Reach him at 360-759-8013 or email@example.com
Previously: Carr Auto Group of Hillsboro, Ore., bought the Bill Copps Motors dealership in downtown Vancouver in 2005.
What's new: Carr is asking the city for a zone change on land near the Vancouver Auto Mall and intends to move the dealership to the new site.
What's next: Company officials hope construction can get started before the year ends.