Despite the nature of the ceremony, progress on Grove City's first new car dealership is further along than a groundbreaking.
Byers Chevrolet hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday, Aug. 15, at the construction site of its new dealership in Grove City at 5887 North Meadows Drive. The site is located just northeast of the Interstate 71 and state Route 665 interchange.
While local officials and a company vice president grabbed shovels to toss dirt, support beams for the new building already were up, and construction workers continued work on the site during the event.
"This piece of property could not be better suited for a dealership," said Byers Automotive Vice President George Kauffman, citing its visibility from the freeway and proximity to the new interchange. "We're really happy to be part of Grove City and look forward to being a part of it for a long time."
When completed, it will be Grove City's first new car dealership since Harley Motors, which was located in the Town Center and closed in the mid-1970s.
Byers Chevrolet will sell new and used vehicles and also offer service and parts. The more than 40,000-square-foot building will have 391 parking spaces, with 275 of those marked for inventory. The site, which will have 75 employees, will replace the Byers dealership on Broad Street in Columbus, which is closing.
The showroom and sales area will occupy 11,600 square feet, and the showroom will face I-71.
"It's going to look fantastic," Kauffman said.
Other features of the new dealership will include 20 service bays, two additional service bays dedicated to oil changes and light repair, a car wash facility and a commercial truck sales department.
Neal Bronder, vice president and CEO of Renier Construction, said the Grove City dealership is his company's ninth project with Byers -- but the first one to be a "green grass" development, meaning it was an entirely new building on undeveloped land.
"This'll be much more streamlined. It'll go a lot faster," Bronder said. "We're trying to have it ready for them to move in by the first of the year."
Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said with a new car dealership, Grove City moves closer to its goal of being a full-service community.
"It has been 40 years since we lost our our only new car dealership," Stage said. "We are blessed as a community."