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The president of nearby Magic City Ford said he told his sales staff “this is really good news.”
Friday, March 29, 2013
Haley Toyota’s move to what city officials see as an emerging “motor mile” around the intersection of Orange Avenue and Williamson Road should bring more jobs — and more cars for sale — to Roanoke.
The dealership wants to expand its business and buy about 17 acres of publicly owned land where Roanoke’s government leaders had once hoped to build a new city stadium and amphitheater.
“Usually, when a dealership relocates, you get more cars. That means more sales, more servicing, more jobs,” Haley general manager Chuck Baker said Friday.
“We’re very bullish.”
He said Toyota has been asking Haley to find a larger space for several years, in order to accommodate demand in the Roanoke region.
Haley’s move, meanwhile, could bring new energy to the Orange and Williamson intersection, said Cameron Johnson, president of Magic City Ford, just three blocks away.
“I wish you could have been a fly on the wall at my sales meeting this morning,” he said.”I told them this is really good news. They’ll be bringing more car buyers to a central area. Everybody benefits.”
The area already has a high concentration of auto sales, with Berglund Automotive Group’s dealerships located just north of the city’s land for sale.
It will be some time before there are shovels in the ground or a new Haley Toyota sign in the air, though.
“We don’t even have any plans drawn yet,” Baker said. Such key issues as access, the face the new facility presents to the world and layout of the site are still to be worked out.
Haley is offering to pay slightly more than $1 million for the site. The offer must still be considered by the city council, which is set to vote on it April 15.
While the price is less than the $1.7 million assessed value of the land, city officials believe it needs to be to take into account the extensive site work that will be needed to make it suitable for a full service dealership and repair facility.
The city acquired more than 15 acres of the site in 1974, for $360,000. The remainder is a small part of even earlier multiple-acre purchases by the city.
In 2001, the city council proposed using the site for a new stadium and amphitheater, but killed the idea in 2004. The city also spent more than $2 million to clean up the site after workers uncovered more than 1,000 buried barrels in the late 1990s, some of which contained hazardous materials.
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