Clements Chevrolet Cadillac Subaru is looking south to build an $8 million dealership just for Subaru, its fastest growing brand.
The 87-year-old, locally owned dealership has purchased a 9.5-acre site covered in grass and clover at the corner of 48th Street Southeast and St. Bridget Road Southeast. That's just east of Mills Fleet Farm.
Clements Managing Partner John Wade expects construction to begin next year and hopefully wrap up in the fourth quarter of 2016. Wade owns Clements with partners Jack Remick, Dave Remick and Dan Penz.
Wade described the planned dealership as an "eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sales and service campus" that will face the 48th Street intersection at a northwest angle.
The owners say the explosive growth of its Subaru brand, with its sales doubling in the past year, is driving this plan to spin a second dealership site off the main dealership at the entrance of Rochester's Apache Mall.
"This expansion is what we need to keep up with the service and sales demands of our customers," explained Wade.
Nationally, Subaru sales are exploding in the United States. Subaru reported 45 consecutive months of year-over-year growth in August, when it sold 52,679 vehicles for the month. It was the 25th consecutive month where Subaru sold more than 10,000 Foresters and the 18th consecutive month where it sold more than 10,000 Outbacks
In 2011, Clements built a 4,200-square-foot showroom adjacent to its main dealership to spotlight Subaru, but the demand has outgrown its capacity to display 40 vehicles. Todd Penz, who will serve as the general sales manager of the Clements Subaru dealership, says the new lot will be able to house more than 370 vehicles.
Clements, which now has 115 employees, expects to add 20 new positions to staff the new site. Wade estimates that equals an additional of more than $1 million in payroll for Rochester.
He also expects the addition of the second site will bring Clements' annual property tax contribution to more than $500,000.
"This multimillion dollar commitment is a major investment as well as an expression of confidence in the Rochester area marketplace, which in the end expands the local tax and employment base," said Gary Smith, the president of Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.
The new dealership will join Rochester Toyota and Mercedes-Benz of Rochester in the growing Shoppes on Maine area off US 63, which is booming along with the rest of the city. A 360-unit apartment complex called Maine Heights has been proposed right behind the Clements Subaru property. A $35 million housing project called The Boulders, which will include 144 apartments and 80 townhouses, also is planned.
"There's great growth in the area with a strong economic base," said Wade. "We're a regional dealership with customers throughout southeastern Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. This is a good crossroads for us to build this new dealership."