Gatorland Toyota breaks ground for new facility


Foreman David Frazier drives a bulldozer on the large tract of land that is being cleared along N. Main Street for a new Gatorland Toyota dealership. "This is a heck of a project for a car lot," Frazier said.

TOM MCCARTHY/Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 11:33 p.m.

Facts

FYI: The plans

n The 40-acre site is on N. Main Street between NE 28th and 31st avenues. n The dealership will cover about 21 acres, while the rest will be either created or natural wetlands. n The current dealership - a bit farther north on

Construction has started on a new Gatorland Toyota dealership on N. Main Street that will significantly outsize the existing car store.
Gatorland Vice President Adam Rohlman said the new lot should be open by June 2007 and will be the largest Toyota dealership in the region outside of Jacksonville.
"We've been here for 12 years and every year we've grown about 15 percent a year in total sales," Rohlman said. "We have been grown out of this facility for five years. We feel the way Toyota is growing, we have to step up and get in a facility that can handle the volume we are doing."
The 40-acre site is on N. Main Street between NE 28th and 31st avenues. The dealership will cover about 21 acres. The rest will be wetlands, either created or natural. The current dealership - a bit farther north on Main Street - is on 2.4 acres.
Rohlman said the current store will become the Gatorland Kia dealership, while the existing Kia dealership across the street will be a used-car lot. Gatorland Acura is staying where it is.
"Kia is on a tear. We've haven't given it the attention it deserves because we didn't have the room," Rohlman said.
The Toyota service operation will be expanded from the current 18 bays to 40 bays.
They will be big enough to handle the larger version of the Tundra pickup that is due out next year and would not have fit in the current bays.
Rohlman said the service area will be air-conditioned and heated - uncharacteristic in the car business. The dealership will be two stories tall and feature a cafe and wireless Internet.
"It's going to be a state-of-the-art facility. We just see Toyota going to the next level," Rohlman said.
Toyota sales are strong nationwide, with sales expected to climb 8.6 percent in May from sales in May 2005, according to Toyota sales data.
Cindy Swirko can be reached at 374-5024 or swirkoc@gvillesun.com

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