It took the better part of eight years, but DeLand Nissan finally has completed a multimillion-dollar expansion of its showroom and parking lots at 2600 S. Woodland Blvd.
The latest stage of the project entailed adding paved space to park an additional 225 cars and trucks in the dealership’s inventory, said owner Kurt Dye.
“We also redesigned a driveway to allow for better truck access, so [the transporters] don’t have to back out,” Dye told The Beacon. “We also added irrigation, fencing and electrical work.”
The dealership now can accommodate an inventory of about 475 new cars and trucks and another 50 to 100 previously owned vehicles.
“We have a total of about 600 cars and trucks in our inventory,” Dye said. “We have the largest selection of trucks in the market.”
The cost of the final phase was about $1 million, he said. That came on the heels of about a half-million dollars spent last year to upgrade and renovate the service department.
The service department now gleams under LED lighting and is climate-controlled, Dye said. All 21 service bays now have high-rise lifts, several of which are commercial grade to allow working on heavy-duty trucks. All the roll-up doors were replaced with fast-opening versions, and ceramic tile was put down to cover plain concrete floors.
The expansion kicked off in 2010 when $1.5 million was spent to refurbish the whole facility, Dye added.
“We were affected by the 2004 hurricanes, so the work was needed,” he said.
That’s a total of $3 million spent over the past eight years. It also means the dealership is utilizing the entire 9.7 acres it has owned since 1986 on the southwest corner of South Woodland Boulevard and McGregor Road on the south side of DeLand.
Dye believes that location is ideal, with two accesses to I-4 — State Road 472 and Orange Camp Road — and being among the 10 dealerships that form DeLand’s 1.5-mile-long “Auto Row.” He thinks it’s better than moving to the controversial I-4 Automall in Lake Helen’s northwest corner.
That proposed project, the brainchild of Brendan Hurley of Hurley Chrysler Jeep in DeLand, is intended to have up to 13 automotive dealerships. But the project is vociferously opposed by many nearby residents and is the subject of intense discussion — and legal action — between officials of the two cities.
Dye believes Hurley’s is the only local dealership that might move to the Automall, which would make it dependent on attracting makes that aren’t already in town, such as Mazda, Subaru, Lexus, Acura, Mercedes, Volvo and Tesla.
“I don’t see any of them coming to DeLand,” he said.
Besides, he’s happy where he is.
“I think this is the best place for us to be, instead of being near Lake Helen’s back door,” Dye said. “We’ve committed extensively to being where we are, and we plan on being here a long time.”
Joe is an award-winning journalist who got his start in radio news in a number of markets in Florida and Alabama before making the transition to print in the mid-1990s. A resident of DeLand since June 1991, Joe likes to read newspapers and magazines, which has given him broad knowledge of many subjects. He is The Beacon’s business editor, and also an avid Florida State Seminoles football fan. Go, ’Noles!