Gettel Toyota, one of a few auto dealerships on 14th Street West in Bradenton, is rebranding its dealership from the ground up.
Last week, the dealership’s parent company, Gettel Automotive Group, submitted an application to Manatee County that provides for the construction of a massive two-story dealership and collision center at its Bradenton facility. The company is asking permission to construct a two-story, 57,212-square-foot dealership showroom at 6323 14th Ave. W., as well as a 31,492-square-foot collision repair shop.
The new buildings will be added to a dealership that currently functions out of a pair of 20-year-old structures that house a new-car sales showroom and a repair shop. They will be built on the north end of Gettel’s 22-acre property, where a former bingo hall stands. That structure will be razed to make room for the new Gettel buildings.
Bob Bisplinghoff, Gettel’s chief operating officer, said the new dealership buildings will closely resemble those the company built at its Toyota of Lakewood dealership on State Road 64 in 2011. He said Toyota is requiring the company to update the look of the dealership.
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Customers will appreciate the change, Bisplinghoff said. The new dealership buildings will include larger, more comfortable waiting areas and will be more spacious than the current dealership. It will also include a car wash, something Gettel’s Bradenton dealership has never had.
57,212 Square footage of Gettel Toyota’s planned new showroom
“What we found at Lakewood is that the customer enjoys the nicer facilities,” he said. “We want to give them that on the west side as well.”
Bisplinghoff said the company has yet to go out for bids on the construction project, but tentatively plans to break ground in August or September. Construction would finish in summer 2017. He said the company has yet to nail down a budget for the project.
Based in Bradenton, Gettel owns dealerships in Manatee and Sarasota counties and Gainesville and Ocala. Some of its newest dealerships include Toyota of Lakewood and Hyundai of Lakewood on State Road 64 near Bradenton. The Hyundai dealership moved its operations from its former location on 1st Street West in 2015.
Gettel sells several brands of new cars, including Acura, BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Porsche, Scion, Toyota and Volkswagen.
The nearest competing dealerships to Gettel Toyota are Alex Karras Lincoln and Hendrick Honda.
When the new Bradenton dealership buildings are complete, they will be considerably larger those currently housing the business. Its present sales building is 38,000 square feet, according to county records. The current collision center is 16,000 square feet. Bisplinghoff said those buildings will be repurposed.
Approvals for proposed new land use have been fast tracked by the county’s economic development department. Redevelopment along the 14th Street West corridor is a high priority in Manatee County. Many new construction projects along the street have recently received expedited permitting.
On Thursday, the county’s planning commission will consider rezoning part of Gettel’s property from residential duplex zoning to commercial zoning. County staff is recommending approval of the change.
Car dealers have been seeing steady sales in the past few years and some have been sprucing up their dealerships. Dealerships undertaking major renovations over the past two years include Sarasota Ford, and Firkins Mitsubishi and Bob Boast Volkswagen in Bradenton.
Edmunds.com, an auto industry research group, showed some gains in total new vehicle sales in the U.S. in April, when dealers sold about 51,000 more cars than they did during the same period in 2015. But May sales dropped by 6 percent year over year, something Edmonds.com chalked up to the month having one fewer selling weekends than in 2015.