MANATEE COUNTY — As the sound of bulldozers buzzed in the background, officials from Gettel Toyota gathered at the corner of State Road 64 and Cypress Creek Boulevard to usher in a vision for the future.
In about one year, the site will be home to the East County’s first car dealership and the first of its kind along the Interstate 75 corridor in the Sarasota/Manatee counties.
Representatives of Gettel and its business partners broke ground on the future 78,000-square foot green-certified dealership on Oct. 28. Once complete, Toyota/Scion of Lakewood will offer new and used car sales as well as a complete service center and wholesale and retail parts.
“We’re really excited about it,” franchise owner Jim Gettel said. “This site is almost 20 acres. We think it’s a great location.”
The dealership’s proximity to the Walmart Supercenter as well as its closeness to I-75 will make visiting the dealership convenient for customers from Brandon to Venice, he said.
The project’s general contractor, Kellogg & Kimsey, will be working to finish the project within 12 months. Project Manager Eric Clayton said more than 30 companies will be working on the site during the duration of construction.
Contractors began clearing the site last week and soon will begin filling most of the parcel to elevate it by three to four feet. Clayton said his company be hauling in about 42,000 cubic feet of dirt onto the site, in addition to about 38,000 cubic square feet being gained through the digging of a retention pond.
“It’s going to look different out here in a few months,” Gettel said, scanning 19.17 acres of brush being plowed over by bulldozers.
Site construction will cost about $8.5 million, on top of the roughly $13.5 million Gettel paid for the land, Gettel’s Chief Operating Officer Bob Bisplinghoff said.
The new dealership will create about 80 jobs in its first year, and about 120 over five years, he said.
Gettel said Toyota Motor Sales USA completed a market study about four years ago that revealed a need for a dealership in the East County. Gettel was awarded the franchise opportunity and purchased the land at 5959 S.R. 64 E. in January 2007.
Bisplinghoff said the dealership’s opening was delayed by permitting issues and because of design changes forced by the economic downturn.
Despite slowed growth in the years since then, Gettel said he believes growth will continue and the dealership will be in an ideal spot moving forward.
Gettel Toyota on 14th Street West in Bradenton — Gettel’s original dealership — celebrates its 20th anniversary this January.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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