Beaufort takes first step to annex land for auto dealership expansion

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Beaufort takes first step to annex land for auto dealership expansion

By JULIANN VACHON
jvachon@beaufortgazette.com
843-706-8184
Published Tuesday, March 8, 2011   |  434 Words  |  
  • Stokes Honda Cars of Beaufort plans to demolish its existing dealership on Robert Smalls Parkway and construct a new, larger building with an expanded showroom and service and parts departments at the same location.

    But before building plans can move forward, the company must get its site -- part of which sits in Beaufort County and part in the city of Beaufort -- within a single jurisdiction.

    Beaufort City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to annex those parcels sitting in the county into the city and zone them as a highway commercial district. A second reading is require before the annexation can be approved.

    The company's existing dealership, located near the intersection of Robert Smalls Parkway and Trask Farm Road, sits entirely on county land.

    City Councilman Mike McFee called the proposed annexation a "win-win," giving Stokes Honda the space it needs to expand while generating a new business license and property tax revenues for the city.

    A representative of Stokes could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The company did announce plans for a new dealership on its website saying "this new facility will allow Stokes Honda Cars of Beaufort to better serve its customers in sales and service."

    An expanded showroom will showcase new Honda vehicles and give staff more room to assist customers, according to the website. The company also plans to expand its service and parts departments with new equipment and a lounge for customers featuring TVs, coffee and shuttle services as well as rental cars, the website said.

    Beaufort's Design Review Board met with project representatives last month for a conceptual review of building plans.

    Those plans, requested by The Beaufort Gazette on Tuesday, were not made immediately available. A final review is still needed is needed by the review board.

    Planning director Libby Anderson said after Tuesday's council meeting that although she couldn't remember the new building's proposed square footage, it will be larger than the existing dealership.

    "It's a total redevelopment of the site," Anderson said.

    Stokes Honda Cars of Beaufort was founded in 1981 by Jerry Stokes, according to the company's website.

    The first dealership built on Robert Smalls Parkway -- which sits next to the company's existing main building -- now houses a used car dealership also owned by the "Stokes Group," according to the website.

    Stokes Honda Cars of Beaufort plans to operate out of that old dealership building while it constructs its new facility, Anderson said.