Mark Wahlberg expands footprint on West Side with Haydocy dealership purchases

Beth Burger
bburger@dispatch.com
The Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet dealership, 3900 W. Broad St., as it appeared in August 2018.

Actor Mark Wahlberg is expanding his footprint in Columbus by adding another car dealership as well as an RV dealership.

On July 6, Mark Wahlberg Buick GMC was unveiled along with Mark Wahlberg Airstream & RV.

The dealerships were formerly Haydocy Buick GMC and Haydocy Airstream & RV. The West Broad Street dealerships are across the street from Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet, which Wahlberg and his business partner, Jay Feldman, bought in 2018.

"Columbus has been so welcoming, and it just made sense to grow our automotive platform here," Wahlberg said.

The Buick GMC dealership has been owned and operated by the Haydocy family since 1954. The deal with Wahlberg was in the works since March.

"The Haydocy family has been wonderful to work with during this transition, and Jay and I are looking forward to doing big things here on the West Side," Wahlberg said.

Chris Haydocy said he remains as managing member of Mark Wahlberg Airstream & RV and retains a small stake in the auto dealership. He declined to talk about the sales price.

Haydocy said he still plans to develop an upscale RV resort near Hollywood Casino Columbus, 200 Georgesville Road.

Haydocy now puts a $10 million price tag on the 27-acre development. The park, to be called Road Adventures Resort, would have 185 sites, a small outdoor amphitheater, a clubhouse with grab-and-go food, a fitness center and a saltwater lagoon.

Visitors would be able to park their own RV or rent one from Road Adventures, the RV-rental operation Haydocy launched in 2016.

Haydocy said he was close to getting financing until the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic struck.

"It stopped the progress," he said.

But Haydocy remains bullish on RVs, because the industry will benefit from the pandemic in that people will still want to vacation and relax while social distancing. He is still pursing financing.

Haydocy also plans to continue to be a booster for West Side development efforts. He said the Wahlberg deal marks the 45th new business or significant business investment in the area since the casino opened in 2012.

"This is a big statement for revitalization," Haydocy said of the Wahlberg acquisition. "Now it's time to be able to shine a light on the potential revitalization of Westland Mall."

In April 2019, plans were announced that the dead mall would be demolished after LGR Weston spent $3.15 million to buy the Sears portion of the mall, giving it and its sister company, Plaza Properties, control over the 88-acre site.

The owners have contacted the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission about using part of a $600,000 U.S Environmental Protection Agency grant to assess the mall site to see if contaminants need to be cleaned up, said Thea Ewing, the commission's director of transportation and infrastructure development. The commission will take applications this fall. In July 2018, Wahlberg and Feldman bought Bobby Layman Chevrolet, 3900 W. Broad St., and renamed it Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet. It was Wahlberg's first dealership.

"The Wahlberg brand is so well-respected," said Feldman. "We are anxious to do even more things in the near future together in the Columbus area. Stay tuned."

Nationally, Wahlberg's business interests include a movie production company, a health and wellness company, a water line and a Wahlburgers restaurant chain.

Haydocy said his family had a 66-year relationship with GMC.

"This has been the result of an ongoing 21/2-year conversation," Haydocy said.

"It's a positive win for everybody," he said.

The three dealerships are hiring for several key sales and service positions in Columbus. For information, go to markwahlbergbuickgmc.com.

bburger@dispatch.com

@ByBethBurger

mferench@dispatch.com

@MarkFerenchik