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Lujack's to launch $10M in new construction

Lujack's to launch $10M in new construction

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Lujack's Auto Plaza will add a new Honda facility to its Davenport dealership as part of $10 million in investments planned over the next year at the main Harrison Street campus. 

Gurley Leep Automotive, which owns the 64-year-old dealership, announced Monday it will build a 34,000-square-foot facility at the site of its current Used Car Center, 3700 N. Harrison St. The $8 million project will replace the existing Honda facility at 3707 N. Harrison, which will undergo its own $2 million renovation to house Lujack's Kia and Mazda franchises. 

Mike Leep Jr., president of Lujack's and Gurley Leep Automotive, announced the plans Monday after unveiling the expansion to the Davenport staff.

"We're excited to continue our investment in the community," he said in an interview. 

Leep said the company considered its various options in deciding to build the Honda Generation 3 facility across the street from its current Honda facility. "Where it is was just not big enough," he said. 

The project is slated to begin with demolition of the Used Car Center building in August. The new facility is expected to be complete in summer of 2019. He said final plans for the Used Car Center's new location have not been announced. 

The state-of-the-art Honda building will include 20 service bays, a high-speed carwash and amenities to meet the Honda Environmental Leadership, or Green Dealer, program. They include LED lighting, energy efficiency features and recyclable building materials. 

The new expansion comes as Gurley-Leep Automotive is about 30 days away from launching construction on a luxury automotive facility to house its European brands: Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche franchises. The  campus will be built at the southeast corner of Davenport's 53rd Street and Eastern Avenue near its Smart Toyota facility. That facility also will open next summer. 

With 20 different dealerships across three states, the company is routinely expanding, building or remodeling, Leep said. The new Honda complex will be almost a mirror of a new facility in Elkhart, Indiana. 

"People want to do business with newer facilities, more amenities," he said. "Every time we build a new facility, we see an increase in floor traffic and business." Leep estimated the new Smart Toyota, built six years ago in Davenport, has quadrupled that franchise's business. 

The new construction projects bring the Mishawaka, Indiana-based Gurley Leep Automotive's investment to more than $30 million in its Quad-City facilities, he said. 

Leep estimated the two new facilities as well as the remodeled Honda showroom will eventually add another five to ten employees each.

Three local Quad-City contractors are vying for the Luxury and Honda projects. They were not disclosed. 

In addition to the expansion plans, Gurley-Leep announced new partnerships with local charities and a new scholarship program for its Iowa team members' children.  

"We have challenged each of our dealership teams to partner with a local charity with a $10,000 donation to each store's charity of choice as well as hands-on involvement in those charities by our team members," Leep said.

The Quad-City facilities are partnering with Friendly House, Make-a-Wish, Riverbend Food Bank, March of Dimes, Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities and the Quad-Cities Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. 

The scholarship program will support the children of any full-time employee who has been with the company for two years with a scholarship of $5,000 per year for four years. Leep said the program, announced to Iowa employees last month, already has 15 applicants. Gurley Leep Automotive also owns Smart Honda in Des Moines. 

The company employs a total of 1,300 people, including 350 in Davenport. 

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