Council approves plan for dealership overhaul

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 10, 2016

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Celebrating 70 years of inviting customers to “stay on the right track” and come visit them at Nine Mile and Mack, representatives from Roy O’Brien Ford were before City Council Feb. 1 asking for site plan approval for a new look for the dealership.

Showing off a plan that will eliminate portions of the east side of the building to make way for an outdoor display of new cars, while making room for those purchasing new cars to get into those vehicles inside the dealership and drive away without dealing with the elements, Roy O’Brien Ford reps said that they want to try “something new and different” with the dealership. 

The plan, which will be constructed in phases, will remove the east 31 feet of the existing building, while adding a nearly 5,000-square-foot single-story addition to the west side of the building to expand the service department. There will also be a new parking lot on Lakeview Street to enable those visiting the showroom to park just across the street. The building’s facade on Nine Mile and Greater Mack will now be two stories and made of a corrugated metal panel system that will extend down the Nine Mile facade to the new western addition.

O’Brien said the new lot will triple the amount of parking at the dealership. 

“I like the new design,” said Councilman Pete Accica. “It’s always been tough to park in there, so it’s going to help out quite a bit.”

The first phase of the project will start in the spring with the addition built to the service department on the west side of the building. The revamped service department will also move customers “out of the elements” to “make the customer’s experience much nicer.”

A few other aesthetic touches include space for a St. Clair Shores historical marker, which will be lit by LED lights lining the property, and bike racks to accommodate the growing crowds of Nautical Ride participants, which Roy O’Brien Ford sponsors. 

In the fall, the parts department will be renovated and reopened, and customers will be “educated” on the fact that the side facing Nine Mile Road is parking for customer service and parts customers only. 

Phase two will start in 2017, taking about seven to nine months, demolishing the front side of the dealership and rebuilding the new facade.

O’Brien said he hopes “we’ll get another 70 years in this great state.” 

“We’re excited. Nervous, but excited,” he continued. “I feel like my grandfather. I’m sure he was pretty nervous when he came here to ask to open up a business in St. Clair Shores.”

Council unanimously approved the site plan for the partial demolition and new addition to the dealership.

“We thank you for your many years. You guys are great benefactors to St. Clair Shores,” said Mayor Kip Walby. “We thank you for all that you’ve done for the city over the years.”