Friday, September 21, 2018
Business

Luxury row: High-end car dealers cluster in the area around Gandy and U.S. 19

PINELLAS PARK — First, Dimmitt Automotive Group opened, selling Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Cadillacs and other luxury brands along Gandy Boulevard N in the Gateway area. Then Maserati of St. Petersburg arrived a stone’s throw to the east.

Now, Pinellas Park has its third luxury car dealership, a nearly 60,000-square-foot complex spanning 7.8 acres, around the corner at 8302 U.S. 19 N.

Crown Eurocars relocated in February from its St. Petersburg site, where it had operated since 1988. The new showroom features 30-foot ceilings and a display area showcasing Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles, typically the highest-performing variant of each Mercedes-Benz class.

Crown Automotive Group president Jim Myers said the move was the result of a deliberate plan dating to the 1990s to acquire six contiguous properties along the busy north-south thoroughfare.

"We always planned to use the land for one of our dealerships," Myers said. "The plan evolved and changed over time s we were able to add more properties."

Besides bringing people to Pinellas Park who likely will patronize other businesses in town, Myers said the expanded operation will add 40 to 50 new jobs to the area.

Pinellas Park City Council member Rick Butler said it would be great if the city could take credit for the move, but the dealership’s relocation came as a surprise. Butler said he and other council members watched over the years as a shoe store, a trailer hitch shop, a Chinese restaurant and a welding shop closed along the stretch of road now occupied by Crown Eurocars.

"Crown saw a good opportunity and they went for it," Butler said. "They must have done a lot of work to assemble all of that."

What’s in store for the former Crown Mercedes dealership just 1.8 miles away? There’s a plan for that, too, Myers said.

It’s being remodeled to become a Land Rover and Jaguar dealership, slated for completion by the end of the year.

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