Published:   March
Volume:   XX    Number:   12


Phoenix - A company formed by Valley auto dealer Jim Babe Earnhardt has assembled a site just east of the northeast corner of 7th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix where he plans to locate a Lexus automobile dealership. The nearly 7-acre site is bordered on the east by Chapman BMW and on the west by Walgreen Drug Store. Maricopa County records show 777 Properties LLC in Chandler (Jim Babe Earnhardt, manager) paid just under $10 million in cash to assemble an assortment of properties in 14 separate transactions. The assemblage was brokered by Michael Lieb of Michael A. Lieb Ltd. in Phoenix. No word coming from Earnhardt representatives at press time, but sources say the deal was put together in fairly short order. If zoning is approved, it is likely to be 2016 before any new Lexus vehicles are rolling in and out of the dealership. There are several businesses now operating at the site that will be given time to relocate. The acquisitions that comprise the assemblage ranged from a $2.5 million sale of almost 3 acres to a $271,215 deal for a office condominium. The mix of properties and uses included a former mobile home park, restaurants, retail shops and a 12-suite office condominium project that had 10 owners (read details of entire assemblage in story below). The Earnhardts, with family patriarch Tex Earnhardt leading the way, have amassed 20 automobile dealerships in the Valley. The umbrella company for the stores is Chandler-based Earnhardt Auto Centers, but Jim Babe Earnhardt and brother Hal Earnhardt, Jr. own the various dealerships in individual entities. Unless he is awarded a newly-issued dealership point, Jim Babe Earnhardts is expected to relocate Earnhardt Scottsdale Lexus to the newly acquired site on Camelback Road. That would amaze many in the Valley automobile industry as Earnhardt Scottsdale Lexus is the No. 1 selling store among five Valley Lexus dealerships. Such a bold move to relocate the top selling Lexus location would not be without risk. In December 2012, 777 Properties LLC paid $11.889+ million to buy the Scottsdale Lexus auto dealership facility at 6905 E. McDowell Road and some surrounding automotive properties. The seller was a company formed by Penske Automotive Group. The real estate that changed hands followed the sale of the Scottsdale Lexus dealership, which Penske also sold to Earnhardt in late 2012. No word on what the Earnhardts will do with the McDowell Road dealership property if Lexus is moved to Camelback Road. The other properties that Penske sold Earnhardt along McDowell Road were previously occupied by Audi and Ferrari dealerships that Penske relocated to north Scottsdale. Earnhardt has leased those properties to multiple automotive users. The McDowell Road Corridor located along both sides of Scottsdale Road was once a Mecca for automobile dealers. Only a hand full of new car dealerships remain in the area today, and that number may soon be shrinking by one. The Lexus brand is undergoing major changes in the Valley with both store locations and operators. In January, BREW reported Van Tuyl Group Inc. in Phoenix (Larry Van Tuyl, principal) buying the 8-acre Superstition Springs Lexus dealership located at 6206 and 6211 E. Test Drive in Mesa. Van Tuyl Group paid $11.15 million to buy the real estate in conjunction with the purchase of the Superstition Springs Lexus dealership, which sold for an undisclosed sum. In September, Bell Lexus North Scottsdale opened on Scottsdale Road just south of the 101 Loop in Scottsdale. That dealership, which is owned by Brent Berge, was relocated from 1901 E. Bell Road in Phoenix. Find out more from Jim Babe Earnhardt at (480) 893-0000. Talk to Lieb at (602) 870-9741.

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