Car dealer Rick Case may move his corporate headquarters from Plantation to Sunrise if he gets approval to build a Kia dealership near Sawgrass Mills mall.
Sunrise commissioners requested the move after Case and developer Terry Stiles pitched the idea of building a dealership near the city’s Sawgrass Corporate Park, just east of the Sawgrass Expressway.
“The city has an old ordinance that won’t allow any more car dealerships in that area,” Commissioner Sheila Alu said. “So I suggested they move their corporate headquarters here. We need to start thinking outside the box.” Commissioners gave the project concept a thumbs up this week, but warned Case that his building needs to fit in architecturally with the nearby office park.
If the $19 million project wins approval, Case has hired Stiles to develop a three-story building and five-story garage to serve as home base for 205 employees — 25 in corporate and 180 for the dealership.
Case said he has a contract to buy the 5.5-acre parcel on Sunrise Boulevard right across from Westerra, a Stiles Corp. project that once envisioned 1,650 high-rise units, 100 townhomes, 300 hotel rooms and 2 million square feet of offices, shops and industrial space. Like many mega-projects throughout South Florida, Westerra has been stalled by the great recession. “Everything is market-driven,” Stiles said. “It hasn’t been a great past three years for the development market.”
By contrast, the auto industry is booming, partially due to a pent-up demand for cars, Case said. “Our sales are up about 40 percent over last year,” Case said. “The automobile business is really good, not only for my company but nationally. People have been holding on to their cars. So the car business in South Florida is booming.”
Why move company headquarters to Sunrise? “This will be a good move for us because most of our corporate staff live out west,” Case said. “It’s more convenient for my people. We have been in the same corporate headquarters for 27 years and it’s time to move anyway.”
Case founded Rick Case Automotive Group in 1962, co-owning and operating the business with his wife, Rita. The couple owns 15 dealerships in Florida, Georgia and Ohio.
That number would grow to 18 with a new Kia dealership in Sunrise and two new Volkswagen and Alfa Romeo dealerships coming online along Interstate 75 in Davie, Case said. With the new dealerships, the number of employees will grow from 600 to more than 1,000 in Broward alone, Case said.
“We wanted to be right along auto row,” Case said of the Sunrise site. “There’s an auto row there that’s been around for 15 years. Our location is right across the street. That’s more convenient for the customers when they’re shopping for the car.”
Get the latest industry news and information from CRE-sources delivered right to your email inbox! And we promise…no more than one email each morning.
And we promise…no more than one email each morning.